The USS Tucumcari, named after the city in New Mexico, was a hydrofoil boat developed by the Boeing company in the late 1960s to test a decade’s worth of hydrofoil research and development. She was a true state-of-the-art ship, sporting the latest in hydrofoil technology, electronics and a powerful gas turbine engine. All of this granted the ship an excellent top speed and maneuverability, whilst also allowing it to seamlessly traverse even rough waters. USS Tucumcari was delivered and commissioned to the U.S. Navy in March 1968.
In her early service life, Tucumcari was thoroughly tested in the Pacific waters off the American west coast, performing various patrol missions and taking part in fleet exercises. Following this, the ship was sent on its first combat missions to Vietnam, taking part in Operation Market Time. There, Tucumcari managed to successfully prove her effectiveness in combat conditions with positive remarks on her performance.
After her return to the United States in 1970, she was transferred to the Atlantic Fleet before being sent off on a European demonstration tour in 1971. Throughout the tour, USS Tucumcari visited several European (NATO) countries including Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Britain, Greece and Turkey, in an effort to demonstrate the capability of hydrofoil propulsion to other NATO members.
USS Tucumcari returned to the States once more in October 1971 and resumed with, among others, coastal patrol duties with the U.S. Coast Guard. In November 1972 however, the ship was severely damaged after running aground on a coral reef at full speed during a simulated combat mission off the coast of Puerto Rico. Due to the excessive damage, it was deemed uneconomical to recover and repair the ship. Thus, USS Tucumcari was struck off the Naval Register in November 1973 and was subsequently taken apart for scraps.