From: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships
Bittern is a bird of the heron family.
(AM-36; dp. 840; l. 187'10"; b. 35'6"; dr. 9'10"; s. 14 k.; cpl. 72; a. 2 3"; cl. Lapwing)
The first Bittern (AM 36) was launched 15 February 1919 by Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co., Mobile, Ala.; sponsored by Mrs. C. R. Doll; and commissioned 28 May 1919, Lieutenant W. P. Bachmann in command.
Bittern's first duty was as tender to the captured German submarine U-88 while she made an exhibition tour of the Gulf and west coast ports. In January 1920 Bittern sailed for the Far East where she remained for the rest of her active service. Throughout most of the next 21 years she wintered at Cavite, Philippine Islands, and summered at Chefoo, China. But the routine was broken occasionally by assignment to scientific expeditions and in September 1923 by relief work following the Yokohama, Japan, earthquake.
The Japanese air raid on Cavite Navy Yard 10 December 1941 found Bittern undergoing repairs. Although not hit, Bittern suffered extensive damage from fire, near misses, and flying debris from Sealion (SS-195) moored alongside. Too badly damaged for repair, the minesweeper was scuttled in Manila Bay after her crew had transferred to Quail (AM-15).
Bittern received one battle star for her short service in World War II.