Mark's Naval Service

USS Tacoma (PG-92)


I was commissioned in May of 1980 and received my orders to report as Chief Engineer to the U.S.S. Tacoma (PG-92). I reported aboard in May and a mere two weeks later shipped up to Newport, Rhode Island for Surface Warfare Officers' School.

Photo to left is my in my BOQ room for Surface Warfare Officers' School. The chart is Narragansett Bay.

After eighteen weeks there I went to San Diego to attend Patrol Gunboat Systems Engineering course. While there, I bought my first car, an Oldsmobile Delta 88 with a 454 engine and a 4 barrel carb. It was a boat! The first tank of gas got me a whopping 8 miles to the gallon. After a weekend in the base Auto Hobby shop we pulled it up to 15 mpg. I was assisted on the rebuild by a EN1 Ray, who was going to the Tacoma as one of my troops. We pulled off the heads and lapped all the valves, replaced a busted push rod and fixed a couple of bad lifters. The body was in decent shape, but the paint job was pretty pitted from acid rain. When I left California, I sold the car to one of the petty officers at the school and he put a new paint job on it and sent me these pictures.

USS TACOMA is the first Patrol Gunboat of the TACOMA Class, and the twentieth gunboat built in the United States. TACOMA is designed for offshore patrol and the control, through high speed interdiction, of coastal shipping as a unit operating with the Amphibious Forces of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. A product of the Tacoma Boatbuilding Company of Tacoma, Washington, she had her keel laid on 24 July 1967. Following her christening on 13 April I967 by Mrs. Arne K. STROM, wife of the Chairman of the Board of Tacoma Boatbuilding Company, she became the fourth US Naval vessel to bear the name TACOMA. USS TACOMA (PG-92) has a complement of 4 officers and 24 enlisted men. For armament, she boasts one 3"/50 rapid firing gun mounted forward, a 20 millimeter gun mounted aft, and four .50 caliber machine guns mounted in twin cradles on each side amidships. These weapons, combined with numerous small arms, give TACOMA considerable firepower for a shallow draft ship of 165 feet. Main propulsion for the ship is provided by twin Cummins V-I2 diesels. In addition a General Electric LM 1500 Gas Turbine coupled with variable pitch propellers lets TACOMA enjoy speeds in excess of 40 knots with fast start times and the ability to come to a complete stop in one and one half ship lengths or 250 feet. This combination of speed, fire-power and maneuverability make TACOMA a potent weapon in the arsenal of the United States Navy.

Length                          164 feet, 6 inches
Beam                            23 feet, 10 inches

Draft (Hull)                   5 feet

Construction                 Aluminum hull & Fiberglas Deckhouse

Displacement                210 tons approximately

Diesel Power                Two Cummins V-12, 750 HP

Gas turbine                   General Electric LM 1500

Armament                    One 3"/50 rapid-fire enclosed mount,

                                    One 20mm open single mount,

                                    Two twin .50 caliber machine guns,

                                    Miscellaneous small arms

Personnel                     Four officers & Twenty-five enlisted

Speed                          In excess of 40 knots

On the Quarterdeck of the USS Tacoma. HT1 Ramos is in Whites.
This is in our home port of Little Creek, Virginia.

Tacoma was stationed out of Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base. The ship wasn't considered large enough to provide adequate quarters for personnel, so everyone had quarters on shore. I stayed at the BOQ along with a variety of other Officers, most of them were on shore duty of some type. One of them was James F. "Diamond Jim" Brodie, Commander, USCG. He was a big fan of baseball and had box seats to the Tidewater Tides. He'd often come through on a weekend and grab a couple of us for a game. Obituary of James F. Brodie, Jr.

And there were the Sing Alongs with Pappy at the Officers' Club on Thursdays and the Duck Inn for seafood afterwards.

I chopped off the bottom half of this to make sure nothing that could be considered classified was shown. The ship only had about 35 personnel at any one time, so it wasn't hard to keep everyone in the loop as to what was going on.

This is looking down the fantail hatch into the Engineering Control Center.
Petty Officer Ramos is manning the console.

The primary mission of the Tacoma and her sister ship, the USS Welch, was to train personnel for the Saudi Navy. The Saudi Naval Expansion Program (SNEP-FIT) would assign about a dozen officers and Petty Officers to the program and we would take them out on training runs and teach them the basic requirements for standing watches and maintaining equipment. The commanding officer of the HMS Al-Farouq was kind to me, inviting me to his home and I learned much about the Saudi culture through him. He invited the entire crew to the commissioning of his vessel. The new vessel made ours look pretty shabby, with its stronger bigger engines, better weapons and a state of the art electronics suite.


United States Navy

USS Tacoma
USS John Rodgers
NGLO 1/10

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This page was created by Mark Swarthout.
The last update to the page was on June 3, 2007.
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