WWII-era tug Comanche finds new home

The former US Coast Guard tug Comanche has found a new home in Bremerton, Wash. Photo by Joe Follansbee.

Congratulations to the 143-foot, former US Coast Guard tug Comanche, which is settling into a new berth on the waterfront in Bremerton, Wash. The boat is owned by the Tacoma-based Comanche 202 Foundation, a non-profit supported primarily by veterans of her service as a Coast Guard vessel. Launched in 1944 as a U.S. Navy tug with a mission of pulling damaged warships out of the line of fire, she won a Battle Star for action in Okinawa during World War II. Transferred to the Coast Guard after the war, the government retired the vessel in 1980. It worked as a private tug in Puget Sound before it was acquired by the foundation in 2007.

Comanche was a fixture on the Tacoma waterfront until earlier this year, when a dispute over insurance and the lack of a rental agreement with Foss Waterway Seaport, the waterfront museum which controlled the tug’s moorage, forced the ship to find a new home. Soon after the hull work was completed in late August, the Port of Bremerton’s downtown marina welcomed Comanche with open arms, putting it near another historic ship, the destroyer USS Turner Joy, a veteran of the Vietnam War and now a museum ship.

Staffed entirely by volunteers, Comanche is one of the few large historic ships that can visit nearly any port on Puget Sound. It shows up at local maritime festivals, such as Olympia Harbor Days on Labor Day weekend. It also hosts programs for at-risk youth. Back at Bremerton, Comanche opens to the public for tours on Saturdays and Sundays. “It’s all free,” says Joe Peterson, the foundation’s director of operations, “but donations are not refused.”

2 thoughts on “WWII-era tug Comanche finds new home

  1. Joe, Good writing, keep up the good work. I served on the USS Tatnuck, ATA-195 and Bremerton Naval Shipyard was her homeport, and you’re right, Bremerton was ALWAYS good to sailors especially tugboater’s as we were one of only a couple ships homeported there, USS Puget Sound and USS Sacramento being two others. Sure wished I lived closer, I’d be aboard her helping ’bout’ every day. But I have to satisfy myself with running tugs here on the Lakes. (PS, I’ve read some of your books as well, and feel we’ve met somewhere along the line. Fair Winds. Pat
    The website below is a military history preservation organization I’m president of, we have a 46 foot WWII tug and three 76 ft. LCM-8 landing craft along with three LARC-V amphibious trucks.


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