Historic Tug’s Fate Sealed
She earned four battle stars, survived the Battle of Iwo Jima, carried out heroic rescues during “the Perfect Storm,” and served 46 years in between, but time and a lack of money have caught up with the USS Zuni (ATF-95), said Harry Jaeger, who for ten years had attempted to save the Navajo-class fleet tug.
She was the last example of her class in the United States, after her sister ships USS Moctobi (ATF-105) and Quapaw (ATF-110) were broken up last year.
Jaeger is operations manager for the Zuni Maritime Foundation, which had dedicated itself to restoring the vessel to her World War II color and configuration with the hope of turning her into a museum and educational vessel.
But after suffering a major leak and a collapsed bulkhead last year, time ran out for “the Mighty Z.” At press time, the Zuni had been turned over to the American Marine Group in Norfolk, Virginia, to pursue negotiations with East Coast states to sink her as a reef and sport-diving attraction.