Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

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

USS Molala (ATF-106)

A group of the Wailatpuan tribe of Oregon.

(AF-106: dp. 1,330; l. 205'; b. 38'6"; dr. 14'; s. 16 k.; cpl. 85; a. 1 3", 2 40mm., 2 20mm., 2 dct.; cl. Abnaki)

Molala (AT-106) was laid down 26 July 1942, by United Engineering Co., Alameda, Calif.; launched 23 December 1942; sponsored by Miss Molly Fay; and commissioned 29 September 1943, Lt. Rudolph L. Ward in command.

Following shakedown off Calif., Molala steamed to Hawaii, arriving Pearl Harbor 14 December 1943. Between February and June 1944, she operated from the Marshalls, towing damaged ships to Pearl Harbor. During that time she was reclassified ATF-106, effective 15 May. After taking part in the invasion of Saipan, she continued towing and salvage operations between the Marianas and Gilberts, returning 2 September to Pearl Harbor. Assigned to the 3rd Fleet, Molala was involved in the Luzon invasion in November. She departed Ulithi 29 December, supporting 3rd Fleet China Sea operations, returning 27 January 1945.

Reassigned to the 5th Fleet, she joined a carrier group in February striking at Tokyo, in support of the Iwo Jima invasion. She arrived Ulithi 7 March with Yarnell in tow, and 4 days later fought a fire on Randolph. For almost a month she rendered valuable assistance to the Okinawa invasion forces, performing her duties, despite the threat of suicide attacks. She departed Kerama Retto 6 May, and spent the next 3 months between the Philippines and Marianas. She arrived Japan 4 September for occupation duty before returning to the west coast.

Between 1947 and 1952, she was assigned duties in the Hawaiian Islands, Alaska, and WESTPAC. She steamed to Korea, to aid in the struggle against Communist aggression, arriving October 1952, and conducted diving operations until the cessation of hostilities. For the next 3 years she operated off Alaska and the west coast. She steamed to the Far East 4 February 1957, returning 19 July to San Diego.

She spent the next 7 years making regular deployments in northern and western Pacific waters. In September 1964, Molala patrolled the troubled waters off South Vietnam returning to Vietnam in the winter of 1965 to carry out salvage work before steaming to the west coast the following year. She departed San Diego 4 January 1956 for WestPac duty, during which time she again entered Vietnamese waters, returning 29 July to San Diego. She departed San Diego April 1968, for another tour of duty in the Far East, and operates off Japan into 1969.

Molala received five battle stars for World War II service, and three for Korean service.

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey