Sunday, October 01, 2000

Now & Then: Ships named 'Covington' served in 3 wars

By Gene Franzen
Enquirer Contributor

        The Journal of American Naval Fighting Ships lists three U.S. naval vessels that bore the name of the city of Covington. At least one of them has strong ties to the riverfront city.

        The first Covington vessel was a side wheeler that patrolled the lower Mississippi River during the Civil War. The USS Covington success fully battled the Confederacy until April 1864, when it was severely damaged by rebel cannon fire. The crew grounded and torched the boat to prevent it from being captured by the enemy.

        When the United States entered World War I in 1917, the German ocean liner Cincinnati was docked at Boston harbor. The U.S. government commandeered the ship, converted it to a troop transport and chris tened it the USS Covington. After six trips across the Atlantic, the Covington was torpedoed by a German U-Boat and sank on July 2, 1918.

        The third USS Covington, a weather patrol vessel, was christened in July 1943 at Superior, Wisc. by that year's valedictorian of Holmes High School. When the ship was later commissioned at Houston, Covington's city manager attended the ceremonies.

        The USS Covington patrolled the Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda and Greenland until it was decommissioned in September 1946. In August the following year, the USS Covington was sold to Ecuador and its name changed.

        At a 1999 reunion held for the first time in Covington, the 13 remaining members of the ship's former crew gathered.


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- Now & Then: Ships named 'Covington' served in 3 wars
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