Historical Documentation from Crewmembers

Back to History Menu

Grahlfs ATA199

Submitted by

F. Lincoln Grahlfs

USS ATA 199, later renamed USS UNDAUNTED. This is the tug which took Hadley in tow at 0635 on 29 July 1945 at Buckner Bay, Okinawa Shima, and towed her to Hunters Point Naval Shipyard at San Francisco, CA, arriving at 1455 on 26 September 1945, via Saipan, Eniwetok, and Pearl Harbor.

This old Navy Tug still exists in the year 2001, as the UNDAUNTED, sailing in the Great Lakes. It has been modified to be a “pusher” tug to push big barges around the Great Lakes. Lincoln Grahlfs, former Quartermaster 1/C aboard ATA 199 and who made the trip towing Hadley from Okinawa to San Francisco Naval Shipyard, Hunters Point in 1945, reports that:

“…your shipmates might be interested in what happened to the ATA 199. Sometime after the war they gave her a name. In recognition of her exploits they named her UNDAUNTED. Following decommissioning, she was used as a survey vessel by the Fish & Wildlife Service for a few years. Then, she became a training vessel at the Kings Point (Long Island) Maritime Academy. Finally, she was sold to a company in Escanaba, MI. In 1998, the company that has run car ferries across Lake Michigan for years spun off a subsidiary, Pere Marquette Shipping Company. Pere Marquette stripped down one of the old ferries and converted it into a bulk cargo barge. They then purchased the 199 and converted it into a pusher tug to go with the barge.

I left the 199 at Pearl Harbor in May, 1946. She was headed back to the states and I still had two and a half years left on my six year hitch, so they replaced me with a man going back for discharge. I ended up on the ATR 40 as part of the salvage unit for Operation Crossroads.

Late in 1998 I learned of the ship’s present whereabouts and contacted the operating officer of Pere Marquette Shipping who invited me to come to Ludington and see the ship. My wife and I made the trip in March (1999). It was quite an experience to go aboard after all these years. Finally, in the Summer of 2000, I went aboard her for three days, making a run from Marinette, Wisconsin to Muskegon, Michigan. What a thrill!

Mr. Grahlfs also says he remembers well his boss, the ATA’s navigator, Chief Warrant Boatswain Page who had been in the Navy since 1913 (32 years), and whose knowledge and experience as a navigator and ship handler were most invaluable many of the 199’s operations. In all, during the voyage from Okinawa to San Francisco, the towline parted nine times, sometimes in rough seas but, fortunately for all hands, not during the typhoon through which we passed reroute. The ninth and final tow break occurred just 150 miles from the Golden Gate.

The successful execution of this seven thousand mile tow, which took almost two months to complete, bears testimony to the seamanship and coordination of the crews of both these vessels.

Lincoln Grahlfs, Apr. 2001

Linc reports the Undaunted is still going strong, year 2005.

See PICTURES/MISCELLANEOUS for picture of this ship as it now appears in civilian garb.