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Barnegat Class Small Seaplane Tender
311' 8" x 41' 1" x 13' 6"
2 x 5" DP gun
8 x 40mm
6 x 20mm
2 x depth charge tracks
The ship had storage for: supplies, spare parts, repairs, and berthing for one seaplane squadronm plus 80,000 U.S. gallons of aviation fuel.
First Pacific Tour
Next, \Mackinac was assigned the task of setting up a seaplane base at Takataka Bay on Malaita, begining operations on August 8, 1942 with nine plane detachment from VP-23 PBY Catalinas searching northward and westward for Japanese warships. After the US Navy defeat during the Battle of Savo Island during August 8-9, 1942, Mackinac departed for Espiritu Santo on August 12, 1942.
Early on the morning of 12 September 1942, two Japanese submarines surfaced at the harbor entrance to shell Mackinac and USS Ballard. The two ships retaliated, but neither side suffered damage. Afterwards, returned to Espiritu Santo on October 25, 1942, assisted rescuing survivors of SS President Coolidge that had struck two mines in the harbor entrance.
On November 12, 1942, Mackinac established an advanced seaplane base at Peou Bay on Vanikolo Island in the Santa Cruz Islands, and began tending an average of six seaplanes a day. Vice Admiral William F. Halsey. Jr. visited her at this location.
Afterwards, returnred to Espiritu Santo then departed in a convoy for the United States West Coast on July 9, 1943, arriving at San Francisco on July 25 1943. She then underwent a two-month overhaul at Mare Island Navy Yard.
Second Pacific Tour
When a PBY Catalina flying boat was forced down near Nui in the Gilbert Islands, Mackinac, after locating it early on November 24, 1943, rescued the crew and safely towed the plane to Nuku Fetau despite adverse weather. On 1 December 1943 she arrived at recently secured Tarawa to tend seaplanes there through January 1944, undergoing 22 air raids during her time there.
Mackinac then steamed for Makin with Patrol Bombing Squadron 72 (VPB‑72) to participate in the Marshall Islands campaign with around‑the‑clock seaplane tending. Next, Mackinac was ordered on to Kwajalein anchoring there on March 9, 1944. While her patrol bombing squadron was conducting rescue operations at Majuro, Makin, Eniwetok, and Kwajalein, Mackinac was laying out the seaplane area and assisting the construction of a naval airbase on Ebeye.
Relieved at Saipan on 19 August 1944, Mackinac joined seaplane tenders USS Chandeleur (AV-10), USS Pocomoke (AV‑9), USS Yakutat (AVP‑32), and USS Onslow (AVP‑48) bound for Kossol Passage, Peleliu arriving on September 15, 1944. For the next three months, Mackinac marked navigational obstructions off Kossol before leaving for Ulithi on December 25, 1944. On 21 January 1945, Mackinac got underway with Chandeleur for Pearl Harbor then onward to San Diego arriving on 7 February 1945.
Third Pacific Tour
After the Japanese capitulation on 15 August 1945, she was assigned to join Task Group 30.5, arriving at Sagami Bay, Tokyo, Japan, on August 28, 1945.
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