Thursday, December 31, 2015

75th Anniversary of Hoga's Launch

"This Day in History"

December 31, 1940

The Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum is starting our 75th Anniversary series of World War II events in 2016.  The blog will begin with Hoga's 75th Anniversary events.

Hoga at Consolidated Shipbuilding facility in Morris Heights, New York, undated.
Photograph courtesy of US National Archives.

Seventy-five years ago today, a Woban Class District Harbor Tug YT-146 was launched.  The Consolidated Shipbuilding Corporation in Morris Heights, New York, built the tug known as Hoga along with three other tug boats.  

Hoga is 100 feel long, a beam of 25 feet, and a draft of 9 feet, 7 inches.  The boat's displacement is 218 tons and uses one propeller and two diesel engines to propel the boat to 12 knots.  This yard tug is typical of hundreds of World War II-era naval service craft.

Coming Soon: Visitors will be able to walk aboard the main deck of USS Hoga, the last surviving Naval vessel from the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Preservation on the boat's interior is happening now. You can help the museum open these areas to the general public by making a tax-deductible donation at  

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hoga's Saga

"Museum Updates"

Two thousand and fifteen was a big year for the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum, the City of North Little Rock, the State of Arkansas, and to all who are interested in national history.  On July 28, 2005, the U.S. Navy officially transferred Hoga to the City of North Little Rock to be a permanent exhibit.  November 23, 2015, Hoga arrived at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum.  Why is this so important?

USS Hoga at sea trials, 1941.
Photograph courtesey of the United States Navy.
USS Hoga (YT 146)

The United States Navy yard tug Hoga is typical of hundreds of World War II-era naval service craft. This Woban Class District Harbor Tug was built in Morris Heights, New York, by the Consolidated Shipbuilding Corporation in 1940.  Hoga was placed into service with the U. S. Navy on May 22, 1941, and allocated to the 14th Naval District at the Naval Station in Pearl Harbor.

USS Hoga at the Pearl Harbor Attack

USS Hoga assisting USS Nevada on 12-07-1941.
Photograph courtesy of National Archives.
Hoga, is of exceptional significance in American history; Hoga is one of two known surviving yard craft present at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet on December 7, 1941.  While not engaged in combatting the enemy, the yard craft performed heroic service, fighting fires on burning battleships and other vessels in the harbor and rescuing wounded sailors from the oily waters of Battleship Row.

Hoga, particularly distinguished herself through her crew’s actions in helping beach the burning and sinking battleship USS Nevada at Hospital Point, as her run for the open sea was aborted by Japanese bombers intending to sink her in the channel and block access to Pearl Harbor. 

USS Hoga fighting fires on Battleship Row on 12-07-1941.
Photograph courtesy of National Archives.
Hoga also pushed the repair ship USS Vestal away from USS Arizona's burning hull and assisted the damaged minesweeper USS Oglala. In all, Hoga spent 72 continuous hours fighting fires on USS Maryland, USS Tennessee, USS Arizona and others.  Hoga, her commanding officer, and the crew received a commendation from Admiral Chester A. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet.

USS Hoga during World War II

On December 7, 1941, eleven ships were sunk and nine ships were damaged in Pearl Harbor.  In the weeks following the attack, a great deal of repair work was done by the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard.  Hoga, her sister yard tugs, and support craft worked hard assisting in the salvage, refitting, and repairing of damaged vessels.

Despite the damage that had been done by the Japanese attack, Pearl Harbor remained an active naval base. The yard tugs, such as Hoga, moved ships in and out of Pearl Harbor throughout the war.

USS Hoga Serving the Port of Oakland

Port of Oakland, Oakland fireboat, 1957.
Photograph courtesy of Oakland Public Library.
In 1948, Hoga was transferred on loan to the Port of Oakland for use as a fireboat.  The re-christened Port of Oakland (later changed to City of Oakland) entered service in July 1948.  She was modified to increase her fire-fighting capability.  As an Oakland fireboat, the vessel combated numerous shipboard fires, waterfront blazes, and rescued persons in the water.  City of Oakland served as a tour boat for President Jimmy Carter during a 35-minute tour of the port on July 3, 1980. 

City of Oakland, Oakland fireboat, circa 1980.
Photograph courtesy of Oakland Fire Department.

Hoga received National Landmark Status on June 30, 1989, while still serving as the fireboat City of Oakland. After 45 years in the Oakland Fire Department, Hoga was returned to the United States Navy in 1994.  From there she was moved to the Maritime Administration’s Suisan Bay Reserve Fleet.  Hoga was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register in 1996.

USS Hoga Restoration

USS Hoga 2012.

Restoration work was performed on Hoga between 2012 and 2014, while docked at Mare Island Ship Yard, Vallejo, California.  Major repairs were made to Hoga’s hull and boat deck to ensure water tight integrity.  Firefighting equipment and non-original external piping added during the 1948 refit was removed.  Old paint was removed by hydro-blasting, and Hoga was re-painted; restoring the ship, as close as possible, to her original appearance.  

USS Hoga 2014.

USS Hoga’s Journey to North Little Rock

USS Hoga's transport from San Francisco to San Diego.
Video courtesy of Patrick Hays.

Hoga was towed from San Francisco to San Diego by the tug A. N. Tillett from Pacific Tugboat Service on September 25, 2015.  Then on October 1, 2015, Tillett transported Hoga to Ensenada, Mexico.  

USS Hoga being heavy lifted by Peters and May.

USS Hoga transported through the Panama Canal.
Once in Ensenada a boat transport company, Peters and May Global Marine Transport, agreed to carry Hoga to the gulf. Thorco Isadora, a carrier ship, lifted Hoga onto its deck and carried the little tug from Ensenada to the gulf, traveling through the Panama Canal on October 15, 2015. 

Thorco Isadora stopped in Fort Lauderdale to drop off cargo, was delayed in New Orleans, and then offloaded Hoga in Houston on November 7, 2015. 

USS Hoga on the Arkansas River.
Photograph courtesy of James D. Hayes.
 Hard’s Marine Service used their tug, Martha Renae, to move Hoga from Houston to New Orleans from November 11-13, 2015.  The Pine Bluff Sand and Gravel Company transported Hoga up the Mississippi River on November 17, 2015, with their tug Jake West.  Once in the Arkansas River, Bruce Oakley Inc.’s subsidiary Jantran Inc. moved Hoga into North Little Rock with their tug Brother Wilson on November 23, 2015.
USS Hoga arriving at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum.

USS Hoga's Ceremony
North Little Rock Police Honor Guard.
Photograph courtesy of John Barr.

On December 7, 2015, the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum along with the Arkansas’s Secretary of State’s Office held the Pearl Harbor Survivor Ceremony.  To honor the 74th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the State of Arkansas honored the last three surviving Arkansas Pearl Harbor survivors. 
Three Arkansas Pearl Harbor Survivors.
Photograph courtesy of John Barr.

Vic Snyder, AIMM Board Member.
Photograph courtesy of John Barr.
North Little Rock Police Bugler.
Photograph courtesy of John Barr.

The ceremony was emceed by AIMM Board member Vic Snyder.  The North Little Rock Police Department Honor Guard posted the colors and provided a bugler player for the event.  Boy Scout Troop #198 from Mabelvale, Arkansas, lead the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.  

North Little Rock Community Concert Band.
Photograph courtesy of John Barr.

The North Little Rock Community Concert Band, directed by Ricco Belotti, volunteered their talents to perform the National Anthem and Arkansas Pearl Harbor Survivor March.  The Two Bell Ceremony in honor of those who served on December 7, 1941, was performed by the Fleet Reserve Association.  

Susan Hutchinson, First Lady of Arkansas.  Photograph courtesy of John Barr.
Speakers for the ceremony included First Lady of Arkansas Susan Hutchinson, Secretary of State Mark Martin, Mayor of North Little Rock Joe Smith, as well as AIMM Board members Patrick Hays and Major General Don Morrow.  

Secretary of State Mark Martin.  Photograph courtesy of John Barr.
Mayor Joe Smith, City of North Little Rock.
Photograph courtesy of John Barr.
Patrick Hays, AIMM Board Member.
Photograph courtesy of John Barr.
Major General Don Morrow, AIMM Board President.
Photograph courtesy of John Barr.

Ribbon Cutting to officially open USS Hoga for public viewing.
Photograph courtesy of John Barr.

The ceremony concluded with the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce’s Ribbon Cutting.

Photograph courtesy of John Barr.

Following the Pearl Harbor Survivor ceremony, the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum hosted a free day to board the main deck of USS Hoga.  

Photograph courtesy of John Barr.

The USSVI Razorback Base, which consists of submarine veterans from Central Arkansas, volunteered to assist the general public aboard USS Hoga.

Photograph courtesy of John Barr.

Refreshments following the ceremony were provided by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, United States Daughters of 1812 and Colonial Dames of the 17th Century.

Finally, the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum board and staff want to give a big THANKS to all donors and supporters who were committed in bringing USS Hoga to Arkansas.

The next step is to move Hoga further up the Arkansas River to her permanent mooring location at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum.  We are expecting this to happen at the beginning of 2016.  Once she is put into place, preservation work will continue on the boat's interior.  Preservation work is going to be completed based on EPA and historic preservation standards.  The museum is continuing to collect donations to complete the interior work that Hoga requires to become available to the general public.  

Support is welcomed through volunteer efforts and financial contributions.  Those interested in volunteering at the museum are asked to come by the museum and fill out a volunteer application.  The application will be forwarded to our Maintenance Chief at the museum.  Financial contributions can be made in many different ways: 
  1. In person during the museum's operating hours.
  2. A check made out to Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum designated for USS Hoga mailed to 120 Riverfront Park Drive, North Little Rock 72114.
  3. Paypal via the museum's website.
  4. Go Fund Me "Save the Hoga" account.
Once Hoga is opened to the public, the State of Arkansas will have the only place in the world where visitors can walk aboard a Navy vessel that served in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and a Navy vessel that was at the formal surrender of the Empire of Japan on September 2, 1945.  

Stay tuned for more updates!!

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Friday, December 11, 2015

Hoga! Hoga! Hoga! Hoga!

"Museum Update"

Ex-Navy tugboat, Hoga, arrived in North Little Rock, Arkansas, on Monday November 23, 2015.  Here are some images from that day!

Sorry Jim was out of town.

Stay tuned for more updates on Hoga.