The USS PLEDGE (MSO-492), second minesweeper to bear this name, was built by the J. M. Martinac Shipbuilding Corporation, Tacoma, Washington. From the keel up she was built to carry out all types of mine sweeping operations. The most important single feature of her construction is the fact the ship and most of her installed equipment is made from non-magnetic materials. It utilized Packard deisels for propulsion and generator power with the exception of the GMC 6-71 used for the auxillary generator power. Her armarment was a 40MM bow gun and two 50 Cal. machine guns for protection against the enemy and to explode moored mines that had their cables severed and popped to the surface. The PLEDGE was the first MSO to have the 40MM bow gun replaced, in the 1970's, by SQQ-14 mine hunting sonar gear.
PLEDGE is a 488 Class Ocean Minesweeper built to be a division or squadron flagship. As flagship, the command pendants of Commander Mine Division SEVENTY-THREE, Comander Mine Division NINTY-SIX and Comander Mine Squadron SEVEN have flown from her masthead. She was launched on 20 July 1955 and christened by Mrs. Theodore F. Ultsch, wife of the machinery supertendent of the Martinac yard. Upon completion and fitting out, PLEDGE was accepted for Naval Service and commissioned on 20 April 1956 at the U.S. Naval Station, Tacoma Washington. After sea trials, PLEDGE joined her sister ships at Long Beach, CA., 25 May 1956. Following training from July 1956 to February 1957 she operated in WESTPAC March to September 1957. She underwent modification from October 1957 to March 1958.
Deployed to WESTPAC 24 August 1961, she visited Bangkok, Thailand, in November, and Saigon, Vietnam, in December. In early 1962 she participated in special training operations at Da Nang, Vietnam until her departure 17 February. Her deployment to WESTPAC, 12 August 1963 included exercises with South Korean ships in October and Nationalist Chinese ships in November. On her next assignment to WESTPAC, 13 August 1965, She performed coastal surveillance duties off the Republic of Vietnam from 18 October to 16 November 1965 and from 18 December into early 1966.
In the Western Pacific as a unit of the powerful Seventh Fleet on three separate tours of duty, PLEDGE operated with the navies of Thailand, England, Republic of China, Korea, Philippines, Vietnam and Japan. Her travels took her to the ports of Yokosuka, Sasebo, Maizuru, Kobe, and Ominato, Japan, Kaoshiung and Keelung, Taiwan, Guam. Hong Kong, BCC then Subic Bay, Zamboanga and Manila in the Philippine Island, Chimkae Korea, Bangkok, Thailand, Saigon, Danang, Qui Nipon, Com Sun, Viet Tau, and Cam Rhan Bay, Vietnam.
In the Eastern Pacific area, PLEDGE demonstrated her mobility and versatility from Juneau and Ketchikan, Alaska to Acapulco, Mexico. Upon completing her mine sweeping tasks, PLEDGE has visited ports from Alaska to Mexico, Canada, Pearl Harbor Hawaii and Midway Island. Exercises have not only been conducted with other types of U.S. Naval Ships, but also Royal Canadian units. As a member of the Third Fleet, she participated in MINEX 89- and Autumn Leaves 89 with the Royal Canadian Navy.
PLEDGE was last assigned to Commander Mine Group ONE and was homeported in Seattle, Washington. After the deployment of USS CONQUEST (MSO-488), USS ESTEEM (MSO-438), and USS ENHANCE (MSO-437) on 19 August 1988, PLEDGE assumed the duties of training her active duty crew and her sister ship's active duty crews for service in the Arabian Gulf, as well as the three Selected Reserve crews.
PLEDGE's mission was to conduct minesweeping and minehunting operations. The agility of a minesweeper to clear the sea lanes is a very important one for the United States since the use of mines can tie-up both civilian and Navy ships until the channel can be swept. With ships like PLEDGE performing their mission, the possibility that other ships will be sunk or damaged by mines is greatly lessened. The mine warfare sailor truly knows that. He also realizes the dangers of getting his ship sunk by a mine in the process is a possibility.