Rockaway (AVP-29) was laid down 30 June 1941 by Associated Ship Building, Inc., Seattle, Wash., launched 14 February 1942, sponsored by Mrs. Z. E. Briggs, and commissioned 6 January 1943, Comdr. H. C. Doan in command.
Following shakedown, the seaplane tender Rockaway became a unit of the Atlantic Fleet, with home base at Norfolk, Va., in April 1943. The next 18 months were busy and eventful ones, during which she delivered essential supplies and personnel to outlying bases in the North Atlantic. She transferred a complete squadron from Newfoundland to England, carried aviation cargo from Norfolk to the Ranger at Scapa Flow, delivered secret radar equipment to England to be used in the Normandy invasion, performed guard duty at Casablanca for 2 months, and transported aircraft engines to the Azores. She completed nine round trips, steaming independently, across the Atlantic during this interval. On several occasions, she made submarine contacts and dropped depth charges with undetermined results.
During the invasion of France in June 1944, Rockaway performed sundry duties for 20 days; patrol and convoy work in the English Channel, flagship duty for Adm. J. Wilkes USN, transportation of Army and Navy personnel and protection of Allied beachheads against enemy air attacks.
After a navy yard period in November, Rockaway was based in the Panama Canal Zone, completing two trips to the Galapagos Island with aviation supplies and personnel. In December she rescued 13 survivors from a PBM which had crashed off Coco Solo.
On 21 February 1945, Rockaway, while steaming to Recife Brazil, located and guarded a disabled tanker for 3 days until a fleet tug arrived on the scene. Duties during the following 5 months, spent in Brazil, entailed supplying the various naval bases from Belem to Bahia with essential men and equipment.
In the summer of 1945, Rockaway was being fitted out by the Boston Navy Yard as a press ship (reclassified AG-123, effective 30 July 1945) designed to carry 50 correspondents during future invasions; but, after Japan surrendered, she was reconverted to a seaplane tender and sailed from Boston 26 October.
Rockaway reported to the Inactive Fleet at Orange, Tex. on 12 November 1945. Decommissioned there 21 March 1946 Rockaway berthed with the Reserve Fleet at Orange, Tex. until transferred, on loan to the Coast Guard 24 December 1948. She remained in that status until struck from the Navy list and transferred, permanently, to the Coast Guard in September 1966.
Rockaway earned one battle star for World War II service.