From: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Vol.VI - p 93


A large genus of mostly evergreen shrubs and trees of the heath family (Ericaceae), found in mountainous regions in various parts of the Northern Hemisphere.

(WAGL-267: dp. 114; 1. 81'; b. 19'; dr. 4'2''; s. 9 k.; cpl. 7)

Rhododendron was built in 1935 at Portland, Oreg., as a tender for the Lighthouse Service. Upon completion she assumed tender operations out of Portland, which became her permanent station. Before World War II she serviced navigational aids on the Willamette River, in the area of its confluence with the Columbia, and along the nearly hundred-mile reach of the Columbia River before it flows into the Pacific.

Rhododendron transferred to the Coast Guard in 1939 when the Lighthouse Service became part of that service. She remained active as a Coast Guard river buoy tender until 1 November 1941, when Executive Order 8929 transferred the Coast Guard to the Navy. She served as a buoy tender on naval service until 1 January 1946, when she returned to the Treasury Department. She continued river operations in the Portland-Vancouver area until she decommissioned 20 August 1958 and was donated to the State of Washington. She was sold by the state 20 April 1959, at which time she began merchant service as Can-do. The former tender remained active in the merchant service until 25 November 1966, when she sank off Anchor Point, Alaska, with the loss of three lives.