USS Cardinal (AM-6)

USS Cardinal (AM-6) was a Lapwing-class minesweeper in the United States Navy. She was named after the cardinal bird.

United States
Name: USS Cardinal
Builder: Staten Island Shipbuilding Co., New York
Launched: 29 March 1918
Commissioned: 23 August 1918, as Minesweeper No.6
Reclassified: AM-6, 17 July 1920
Fate: Grounded on a reef and sank, 6 June 1923
General characteristics
Class and type: Lapwing-class minesweeper
Displacement: 950 long tons (970 t) full
Length: 187 ft 10 in (57.25 m)
Beam: 35 ft 6 in (10.82 m)
Draft: 9 ft 9 in (2.97 m)
Speed: 14 kn (16 mph; 26 km/h)
Complement: 78
Armament: 2 × 3 in (76 mm) guns

Cardinal was launched 29 March 1918 by Staten Island Shipbuilding Co., New York; sponsored by Ms. I. Nelson; and commissioned on 23 August 1918 as Minesweeper No.6, Lieutenant, junior grade N. Drake in command.


East Coast operations

Cardinal served in the 3rd Naval District, sweeping waters off New York and serving as a temporary lightship, until 3 August 1919, when she sailed to join the Pacific Fleet.

Pacific Ocean deployment

For the next three years, she sailed out of San Diego and San Diego, California, carrying supplies, provisions and passengers along the California coast, and towing lighters, targets, and disabled ships. Cardinal was redesignated as AM-6 on 17 July 1920.

From 8 February – 16 April 1923, Cardinal sailed to the Panama Canal to provide tug services during fleet battle practice. She returned to San Pedro to prepare for duty in Alaskan waters, and on 23 May sailed for Port Angeles, Washington, where she called from 30 May – 1 June.


While bound for Dutch Harbor on 6 June, she was grounded on a reef off the east coast of Chirikof Island, and heavy flooding began immediately. Some of her men were landed on the island, where they were later taken off by a United States Coast and Geodetic Survey ship. The rest were rescued from the battered Cardinal on 7 June by the oiler Cuyama, who also took off salvageable material and stores. The remaining hulk sank soon thereafter.


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.

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