The Kaw was one of two 110-foot tugs built and launched by the Coast Guard Yard in 1942, the other being Manitou. They differed from the Arundel-class 110-foot tugs only in their machinery installation. The Arundel-class (and consequently the Kaw and Manitou) were a follow-on to the 110-foot Calumet-class tugs and were capable of breaking ice up to three feet thick. These tugs were officially referred to in the Coast Guard Description of Cutters document as a "Harbor Cutter." Kaw was commissioned on 1 March 1943 and was assigned to the 1st Naval District. She was based out of Portland, Maine until October 1944 when she transferred to Sandwich, Maine. On 1 January 1945 she assisted the CGC Nemesis following that cutter's collision with the SS Felipe de Neve.
From 1946 until 1948 she was stationed at Portland, Maine and was assigned to the peace-time tasks of law enforcement, port security, search and rescue, fire-fighting and light icebreaking duties. These included outer harbor and anchorage patrols, customs boardings, transportation, vessel boarding and motorboat inspection, waterside surveillance, quarantine boarding, providing support for local Coast Guard commands, and towing assistance. Her crew also assisted in "winterizing" aids to navigation. On 2 March 1947 she located the disabled F/V Lucy and Evelyn, which had been lost by the CGC Algonquin. Kaw towed her to New Bedford, Massachusetts. On 27 December 1947 she fought a fire at a pier in Portland.
From 1949 to 1951 she was stationed at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. From 1952 until 1979 she was stationed at Cleveland, Ohio. From 22 April to 6 May 1952 she towed the CGC Tahoma from Cleveland to a rendezvous with CGC Cherokee and gave up the tow to Cherokee. In February 1965 she broke ice in Cleveland during a particularly harsh winter. On 4 May 1965 she towed the disabled cutter Ojibwa to Buffalo, New York. In January 1968 she broke ice on the Huron River. On 31 January 1969 she helped break up an ice jam below Monroe, Michigan, thereby removing a threat of flooding to the city.
Decommissioned in 1979 and Sold To Gaelic Towing, Detroit, (Renamed the Roger Stahl) - now owned by Jimmy Felton of Florida Keys Harbor Services (Renamed The Capt. Diane)
Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, MD.
9 May 42
6 Oct 42
1 Mar 43