ROK Navy strikes last former USN ship

USS Beaufort (ATS-2) underway off Hawaii, circa 1984-88. Brian O'Connor, MM1 (SW/DV) USN Ret, via Navsource

USS Beaufort (ATS-2) underway off Hawaii, circa 1984-88. Brian O’Connor, MM1 (SW/DV) USN Ret, via Navsource

When the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN), founded as the Korean Coast Guard 11 Nov 1945 with some captured Japanese coastal vessels, stood up in 1949, their first modern acquisition was a 600-ton submarine chaser, the former USS PC-823, which was bought with money raised by subscription and dubbed ROKS Baekdusan (PC 701).

Throughout the next several generations, the primary source of warships for the ROKN was the U.S. Navy with a host of surplus Fletcher, Sumner and Gearing-class destroyers and WWII-era amphibs and submarines.

In the late 1970’s, Park Chung-hee made it a point to start building indigenous vessels and the first major all-South Korean-made naval vessel, the frigate ROKS Ulsan (FF 951), was commissioned in 1980.

Now the fleet is all-ROK with the retirement of the last former U.S. Navy ship.

ROKN ship Pyeongtaek (ATS-27), formerly the USS Beaufort (ATS-2), an Edenton-class salvage and rescue ship, was decommissioned 28 Dec. 2016 after 44 years of combined service between the two allies.

Built at Brooke Marine, Oulton Broad, Lowestoft, United Kingdom, the 3,100-ton salvage ship was commissioned 22 January 1972 in the U.S. Navy and spent her entire career in the Pacific, notably participating as a support ship for the minesweepers engaged in Operation End Sweep, the removal of mines from Haiphong harbor in North Vietnam.

Decommissioned on 8 March 1996 and struck from the Navy List, she was disposed of through the Security Assistance Program, transfer and cash sale of the hull to the Republic of Korea Navy who recommissioned her ROKS Peyongtaek on 1 April 1997.

Now she will become razor blades.

Interestingly, Beaufort/Peyongtaek‘s class leader USS Edenton (ATS-1), struck from the Navy List 29 December 1997 after 26 years active duty, was turned over to the U.S. Coast Guard 10 July 1999 and, recommissioned as the medium endurance cutter USCGC Alex Haley (WMEC-39), is “The Bulldog of the Bering” based out of Kodiak, Alaska.

She is not expected to decommission for another decade or so.


Maybe the South Koreans will let the USCG go over Peyongtaek for spare parts before they send her to the breakers.

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