The Frozen Mellon
“SAINT PAUL ISLAND, Alaska (Feb. 9) — The Coast Guard Cutter Mellon (WHEC 717) makes way through the Bering Sea while acting as search and rescue standby cutter for the Bering Sea Opilio Crab fishery Feb. 9.”; Photo no. 010209-C-6130A-500; 9 February 2001; photo by PA1 Keith Alholm.
The USCGC Mellon was commissioned on 22 December 1967. She has spent her Coast Guard career in Pacific waters. This photo provides a good overhead view of a 378′, showing all of the modifications made for their service into the twenty-first century. The Mellon conducts Alaskan fishery patrols, enforcing international and domestic fishing requirements. Mellon patrols the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea, the Eastern Pacific down to South America.
During the Cold War she was the first and only USCG cutter to be fitted with the Harpoon missile, and even fired one in a test. She also received an anti-submarine warfare suite including the AN/SQS-26 sonar and Mark 46 torpedoes, making her a fairly handy little frigate if needed. The ASW suite and Harpoon capability were removed due to fiscal constraints, but served as a proof of capability for all USCG cutters.
She is slated to be replaced by the new National Security Cutter in the next few years.