The ATA-198 belonged to the Maricopa-class of auxiliary fleet tugs. She was launched in January 17, 1945, by the Levingston Shipbuilding Co. of Orange, Texas. Upon her commission in March 19, she was placed under the command of Lt. J.L. Bean. She was originally named the ATR-124, but in May 15, 1944 was renamed ATA-198.
Service in World War II and Korea
The ATA-198 departed for the Pacific by way of the Panama Canal on April 18, 1945, and she arrived in Pearl Harbor June 1. On June 7, she proceeded to tow the Pegasus (IX-222) to the Philippines, arriving in Leyte Gulf on July 18. By the 21st, she departed to return to Pearl Harbor, arriving on August 7. For the next two months, the ATA-198 would go on two towing runs to San Francisco. Afterwards, she returned to Pearl Harbor to continue her harbor and barge towing assignments. The ATA-198 made towing runs to various Hawaiian Islands and the West Coast for more than three years after that. During this time, the ATA-198 also performed towing runs to Wake Island.
On July 16, 1948, the ATA-198 was rechristened the Keosanqua. The Keosanqua arrived in Long Beach on December 22, 1948, and in January 3. 1949, she would perform target-towing duty for the Fleet Sonar School in San Diego. She also assisted with harbor and coastal towing duties during this time.
In June 19, 1951, the Keosanqua was assigned a 10-month deployment to the Western Pacific due to the US effort to aid South Korea from North Korean aggression. The Keosanqua worked off Japan and gave towing services along Makpo to Inchon, Korea. She continued her towing duties until departing for San Diego on March 25, 1952. She was not done in the Western Pacific though, as she returned for two more deployments between 1953 and 1955, providing tug and target towing services off the coast of Korea.
After the War
She returned to operations in San Diego in 1955, and in 1956, she was de-commissioned and sent to join the Pacific Reserve Fleet. For her service in the Korean War, the Keosanqua received three battle stars. On May 1, 1961, the Keosanqua was removed from the Navy List, and in February 1962, she was moved to the Republic of Korea and rechristened ROKS Yong Mun (ATA-2).
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, some tenders and tugs also posed a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common, especially on older ships, because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.