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    USS Tulsa (PG-22) "Galloping Ghost of the South China Coast" - PT-109 Tender.
    The USS Tulsa, an Ashville Class patrol craft and the first US ship named for a city in Oklahoma, was a pre-war China gunboat. Commissioned in 1923, Tulsa began her career in the Caribbean "showing the flag." During the Nicaraguan Civil War, she protected American lives and property. In 1929, she was sent to the Far East for service with the South China Patrol.

    This approximately 32" X 52" cotton flag has sewn stars & stripes and finished with a canvas header and grommets. The flag is marked on the obverse hoist "3 X 5" and on the reverse header in black ink, "USS Tulsa PG-22 Rescued PT-109 Kennedy + Crew 6 Japanese Planes etc." and in blue ink "To Rungee Mus[eum] in 1949."

    After over a decade of service as "a China hand", where she patrolled the Pearl and Yangtze Rivers and the south China coast offering sanctuary to American citizens during civil unrest in Chinese seaports, she began WWII defending and then rescuing sailors at Cavite Naval Base. She was then ordered to Java in the Dutch East Indies for patrol, convoy, training and escort duties. When the Japanese expansion made her position untenable, she withdrew to Australia for a refit. Now equipped with both anti-submarine and anti-aircraft capabilities, in late 1942 she began to escort and tend PT-boats, providing the necessary fuel and provisions for the boats, which Tulsa did for the remainder of 1943.

    It was here that the history of Tulsa and Lt. (j.g.) John F. Kennedy, USNR, future President of the United States, were briefly intertwined. Kennedy arrived in the South Pacific and took command of PT-109 in April of 1943. At that time the naval war in the southwest Pacific was fluid with many of the PT-boats operating out of "brush berths" with limited maintenance facilities. PT-boats were designed for speed and required constant maintenance unavailable in remote areas. This made them more dependent on their tenders. It was in the summer of 1943 that the USS Tulsa came to the rescue of PT-109, towing her to base. This is the source for the claim inscribed on the flag that Tulsa "Rescued PT-109 Kennedy + Crew," a rescue actually affected by Kennedy squadron mates on the PT-157.

    The Tulsa continued to serve in the New Guinea-Australia theater and briefly served as the flagship of the 7th Fleet, until being ordered to the Philippines in November of 1944. On 18 December 1944, she was renamed USS Tacloban, after the town on the island of Leyte, where American forces had landed a scant two months earlier. This was done to free the name Tulsa for a new cruiser. At the war's end, the ship departed the Far East and arrived at San Francisco in early 1946 for decommissioning.

    Awards of the USS Tulsa/Tacloban: Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal; Yangtze Service Medal; China Service Medal; American Defense Service Medal with "FLEET" clasp; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two campaign stars; World War II Victory Medal and the Philippine Defense Medal.

    Condition: Fair - the Flag is used, worn, soiled, stained and torn with a rent in the canton. The top hoist grommet is missing.

    This flag was formerly in the collection of Dr. Clarence Rungee, and is accompanied by his original museum inventory sheet with identifying information.

    For those who did not receive a hard copy of the auction catalog, we present here the introductory comments and history of Dr. Rungee and his remarkable collection. If you scroll further, you will also find various contemporary newspaper articles, as well as a selection of the many letters of donation and transmittal which accompanied the collection and a categorization of the collection.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2019
    14th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 450

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