USS WARBLER (MSC-206)
second Warbler (AMS-208) was laid down on 15 October 1953 at Bellingham, Wash., by the
Co.; launched on 18 June 1954; sponsored by Mrs. S. A. Blythe; redesignated MSC-208 on 7 February 1955; and commissioned
at the Naval Station,
Tacoma, Wash., on 26 July 1955, Lt. (jg.) James S. Elf elt in command.
Following shakedown training,
Warbler reported to Commander, Mine
Force, Pacific Fleet, and operated locally out of Long Beach for the
next year. In August 1956, in company with Whippoorwill
(MSC-207), the minesweeper set
sail for the Far East to assume duties as
flagship for Mine Division 32. Homeporting at Sasebo, Japan, Warbler would remain in the Far East
over the next 14 years, participating in numerous mine exercises with the navies of other friendly Far Eastern
nations such as South Korea,
Nationalist China, the Philippines,
the ship's deployment to the western Pacific, Warbler conducted numerous tours of duty
patrols off the coast of Vietnam. A small wooden craft especially designed for coastal mine-sweeping operations and
deployments lasting from a few days to several weeks, Warbler and her sister minesweepers
filled the gap between the heavier units of the fleet, like the destroyers and destroyer escorts,
and the small craft
used for patrol work, until built-for-the-purpose patrol craft could enter the fray. During her "Market-Time" cruises, Warbler boarded
many junks, ascertaining cargo and
destination; investigated contacts of
steel-hulled vessels picked up on radar; and endured what at times appeared to
be "fearfully strong weather
that seemed bent on total destruction" of the ship. At times, boarding of junks was an
impossibility because of the vagaries
of monsoon-type weather.
one "Market-Time" patrol in the spring of 1968, Warbler conducted a
joint salvage evolution with the salvage vessel Conserver (ARS-39). She
located a downed
aircraft, an F-100 Super Sabre fighter, and a wayward box of hypodermic needles. The ship also conducted extensive searches for
an A-6 Intruder, a
medevac (medical evacuation) helicopter, and two target drones. The minesweeper then cruised off
the delimitarized zone (the DMZ) before heading home to Sasebo via the Nationalist
Chinese port of Kaohsiung.
days of "Market-Time" patrols under her belt in 1968, Warbler returned
to the coast of Vietnam in January of 1969 and patrolled briefly near the port of Vung Tau.
that autumn, Warbler, in company with her sistership Whippoorwill, departed Sasebo on
5 September, bound
for Taiwan and Mine Exercise "Canned Heat."
Unfortunately beset with mechanical difficulties, the ship went dead in the water in Formasa Strait after attempted repairs at Keelung, Taiwan, had proved
ineffective. Eight hours after the ship stopped, Schofield (DEG-3) answered Warbler's call for assistance
and passed a tow to the heavily
rolling minecraft. By 10 September,
after rapid repairs at Kaohsiung, Warbler was ready for sea and participated in the scheduled slate of exercises. At the close of the year, the
ship received counter-insurgency practice by tracking highspeed patrol boats sent out for exercise purposes
by Commander, Mine Flotilla 1.
The ship's last
"Market-Time" patrols in 1970 were similar
to the ones she had conducted in past years, as she operated off the coast of Vietnam to aid in the interdiction
campaign to cut off the flow of arms and munitions to the Viet Cong in South
Vietnam. For two months in 1970, Warbler
patrolled between Camranh Bay and
Nha Trang, investigating suspicious contacts -none of which proved hostile. "Our greatest excitement during this patrol," her comanding
officer later wrote, "was
provided by an occasional Soviet Merchantman that would steam through our area and find himself shadowed and photographed by the mighty Warbler."
Warbler of "Market-Time"
duties on 19 July 1970, and the latter got underway from Camranh Bay for the succession of port visits. However, two days
after leaving the bay,
the ship received a message directing her to return to the United States for decommissioning.
Departing Sasebo on 17 August
and sailing via Pearl Harbor for an
overnight refueling stop, Warbler reached the west coast of the United States on 17 September in company with Catskill (MCS-1),
Vireo (MSC-205), and Widgeon
(MSC-208). On 1 October 1970, Warbler
placed in service as a Naval Reserve training (NET) ship and homeported at Seattle, Wash., Warbler commenced
her new duties soon thereafter. She trained reservists out of Seattle into the mid-1970's and was placed on the
sale list in July 1975.
On 14 October 1975, she was sold to the government of Fiji.
awarded seven engagement stars for her important services on "Market-Time" patrols.
[Note: The above USS WARBLER (MSC-206) history may, or may not, contain text provided by crew members of the USS WARBLER (MSC-206), or by other non-crew members, and text from the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships]