Construction and commissioning
Rockaway was laid down on 30 June 1941 by Associated Shipbuilders, Inc., at Seattle, Washington. She was launched on 14 February 1942, sponsored by Mrs. Z. E. Briggs, and commissioned on 6 January 1943 with Commander H. C. Doan in command.
World War II service
Following shakedown, the seaplane tender Rockaway became a unit of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet, with home base at Norfolk, Virginia, in April 1943.
Transatlantic voyages and North African service
From April 1943 until October 1944, Rockaway delivered supplies and personnel to outlying bases in the North Atlantic Ocean. She transferred a complete seaplane squadron from Newfoundland to England, carried aviation cargo from Norfolk, Virginia to the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-4) at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands, delivered secret radar equipment to England to be used in the Normandy invasion of 6 June 1944, performed guard duty at Casablanca, French Morocco, for two months, and transported aircraft engines to the Azores
Invasion of France
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 Admiral J. Wilkes, USN, transportation of United States Army and U.S. Navy personnel, and protection of Allied beachheads against German air attacks.
Operations in Brazil
On 21 February 1945, Rockaway, while steaming to Recife, Brazil, located and guarded a disabled tanker for three days until a fleet tug arrived on the scene to tow the tanker.
Rockaway operated in Brazil from February 1945 to July 1945, supplying the various naval bases from Belém to Bahia, Brazil, with men and equipment.
Conversion to press information ship begun
In July 1945, Rockaway began conversion at the Boston Navy Yard in Boston, Massachusetts, into a press information ship. Reclassified as a miscellaneous auxiliary and redesignated AG-123 on 30 July 1945, her conversion was designed to allow her to carry 50 correspondents during the invasion of Japan, which was scheduled for 1945-1946. After hostilities with Japan ended on 15 August 1945 before an invasion could occur, she was reconverted into a seaplane tender.
Honors and awards
Rockaway earned one battle star for her World War II service.
Post-World War II U.S. Navy service and inactivation
Rockaway sailed from Boston on 26 October 1945. She reported to the Inactive Fleet at Orange, Texas, on 12 November 1945. Decommissioned there on 21 March 1946, Rockaway was placed in reserve and berthed in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Orange.
United States Coast Guard service
The U.S. Navy loaned Rockaway to the United States Coast Guard on 24 December 1948, which commissioned her as Coast Guard cutter USCGC Rockaway (WAVP-377) in 1949, and permanently transferred her to the Coast Guard in 1966. While operating with the Coast Guard, Rockaway performed a variety of tasks. Her primary duty until 1965 was to patrol ocean stations in the Atlantic Ocean to provide weather reporting services and engage in search-and-rescue and law-enforcement operations. In 1965 she became an "oceanographic vessel", redesignated WAGO-377, and her focus shifted to oceanographic survey work. She became a high endurance cutter, WHEC-377, in 1966, and an "offshire law-enforcement vessel," WOLE-377, in 1971. She was sold for scrapping in 1972.