The USS Tulsa (PG-22) was laid down in 1919 at Charleston, South Carolina. A patrol gunboat, the ship was assigned to the Special Service Squadron in the Caribbean. Small and nimble, the vessel was suited for "showing the flag" yet large enough to deter civil unrest or to rescue American citizens. When civil strife broke out in Nicaragua in the late 1920s, Tulsa was called upon to protect American lives and property.
In late 1928 the Tulsa joined the U.S. Asiatic Fleet. In April 1929 the ship was designated the flagship of the South China Patrol and operated out of Hong Kong, British Crown Colony, and Canton, China. A river patrol gunboat, Tulsa made cruises up the Pearl River and along the south China coast and offered sanctuary to American citizens during civil unrest in Chinese seaports. Next, the Tulsa deployed with the Yangtze River Patrol. Assigned as the station ship at Tientsin, China, the ship resumed duties as a scout and communications vessel for the commander-in-chief of the Asiatic Fleet. Later reassigned to the South China Patrol, Tulsa was present during the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937. Tulsa was next ordered to Manila, Philippines, joining the Inshore Patrol.
On December 10, 1941, the Japanese attacked the U.S. naval base at Cavite, Philippines. The Tulsa sent rescue parties ashore to extinguish fires and assist the wounded. Next ordered toward the oil fields near Java, Tulsa operated independently along the south Java coast. Ordered to Australia when Java became untenable, the ship performed routine patrols. Refitted with antisubmarine equipment, Tulsa operated as an antisubmarine ship attached to Submarine Forces, Southwest Australia.
Following an overhaul in December 1943, the Tulsa participated in the Hollandia strike on April 26, 1944, and the Wakde Island landing on May 17, both in New Guinea. Ordered to the Philippines in November 1944, Tulsa assisted with the retaking of the islands from Japanese forces. Renamed the Tacloban in December 1944, at war's end the ship departed the Far East and arrived at San Francisco in early 1946. Due to the ship's material condition, it was decommissioned on March 6, 1946, and was struck from the Navy list.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: John Costello, The Pacific War (New York: Rawson, Wade Publishers, 1981). Department of Naval History, "The U.S.S. Tulsa, 1919-1945," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 55 (Fall 1977). Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Vol. 7 (Washington, D.C.: Naval Historical Center, 1981).
C. P. Neimeyer
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