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Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Naval History Division • Washington

USS Pirate, AM 275


A buccaneer.

(AM-275: dp. 850; 1. 184'6"; b. 33'; dr. 9'9"; s. 15 k.; cpl.; 104; a. 13"; cl. Admirable)

The second Pirate (AM-275) was laid down 1 July 1943 by Gulf Shipbuilding Co., Chickasaw, Ala., launched 16 December 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Clara L. Oliver and commissioned 16 June 1944.

That summer, Pirate operated in and around Casco Bay and Boston; conducted ASW exercises with Italian submarine Vertice and with CTG 23.9 in early August, and later in the month swept the channel from Boston to Provincetown In December she transferred operations to Miami, where she was schoolship for student officers for the next 4 months.

Pirate got underway from Miami 4 April 1945 to transit the Panama Canal, stop at San Diego, and proceed to Pearl Harbor for duty. She departed Pearl Harbor and proceeded with MinDiv 32 via Eniwetok to Apra Harbor, Guam 7 June. As Allied forces made the final drive on Okinawa Pirate reported at Nakagusuku Bay 26 June. In September she was minesweeping in area "Arcadia", in and around Jinsen, Korea, and operated off the northern coast of Formosa in November.

Decommissioning at Bremerton, Wash. 6 November 1946 the ship reported to ServPac in December 1947 for deployment in Japanese waters in a caretaker status, she retained this status, out of service in reserve for the next several years

In July 1950, Pirate was with MinDiv 32, ServPac when hostilities in Korea called her back into active service. Recommissioning 14 August 1950 at Yokosuka Japan, she departed Sasebo 8 September for duties off Pusan, Korea. On 12 October she and Pledge were minesweeping 3 miles off the enemy-held island of Sin-Do when the ships hit mines. Sinking within 5 minutes, Pirate had 12 sailors missing and one dead.

Piratereceived 4 battle stars for World War II service.

Click on thumbnail image to see enlarged image of the loss of Pirate on 12 October 1950 off Sin-Do Island, Wonson Harbor, Pusan, Korea. Pirate sank in approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

Edicott (DMS-35) lifeboats picked up 170 survivors from sinking ofPirate and Pledge

Photos were Contributed by Earl (Rick) Richard, Pirate crewmember and survivor of the sinking.The photos were taken by a G.D. Carpenter SN, USN a crewmember of USS Redbird (AMS-34), and given to Mr. Richard by Joe Schrieber, Historian for the Naval Mine Warfare Association.

Pirate strikes mine

Pirate lists to starboard

Pirate lists to port

Capsizes to starboard

Pirate sinks

Rescuing Survivors

Survivor's Story

The Pirate was the Flagship of the Mine Squadron One, with Mine Division 32. It was Steel hulled ship about 185 foot long and we had a crew of about 85, which included 15 officers and the rest enlisted. Being the flagship, of course we led the pack and our journey started at Sunrise on October 12, 1950. It was a beautiful clear, sunny and brisk day as we entered the Wonson Harbor. We passed a small island and were about 3-4 miles inside the harbor when we cut our first mine. The further in we went, the more mines we began cutting lose.

My station was at the 20-MM gun mount that was just on the port side of the bridge and I was only about 8 feet from the skipper. Just before noon we were about half way into the harbor when the crewmember that had the bow lookout, began yelling and running toward the fantail. He was so excited that no one could understand what he was saying, but at the same time we were high enough on the ship that the skipper and the rest of us crewmembers in the area, could see the huge black mine just off the Port Bow. The skipper called for a hard left rudder to try and turn away from the mine, but we were so close that by the time the ship began its turn, the port side of the ship came right on to the mine and it stuck the back quarter of the ship on the port side. The hole was wider than a two-car garage. Everyone on the bridge was blown in different directions. Some were blown over the side, and I was blown to the main deck. I can only remember being showered by what smelled like diesel oil and tons of dust and debris. When I finally realized what had happened, I was picking myself up from the main deck and heard a shipmate yelling, only to find he was trapped under several hundred feet of 2 inch diameter mooring line that had been coiled on top of ventilating unit. When the ship listed the line slid off and trapped his legs. One other shipmate and myself were able to get him out from under at the same time the ship was going down. It had listed to the starboard side and when it came back to the port side, we slid off into the water. With the other guy and myself we were able to drag the injured guy away from the ship before it went completely under water which was in about four minutes. I remember the water was very cold and at first most of the crew began swimming towards the shore until the beach guns opened fire and began blowing guys out of the water. They also hit the Pledge that went down right after us.

After seeing the beach was not a safe place to go, everyone started swimming out to sea in hopes of being picked up by one of our other ships. The Endicott was in the area and sent all its lifeboats in to start picking up survivors. They picked up the badly injured first and made several trips back until all the remaining survivors were picked up. When we boarded the Endicott, the crewmembers were kind enough to donate as many dry clothes as they could to care for the survivors. We traveled most of the night back to Japan where we were transferred to the Hospital Ship Repose for treatment.

Rick Richard

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