Here we see past Warship Wednesday subject, the oldest vessel in the U.S. Coast Guard, and one of the last ships afloat and in active service that dates from World War II: the Gorch Fock-class segelschulschiff USCGC Eagle (WIX-327), America’s only active-duty square rigger.
This uncommon view of her was taken last week at the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore, the only one in the service, as Eagle undertakes the next step in her five-year SLEP modernization. She is inside the former U.S. Navy ARD-18 Class Auxiliary Repair Dock, USS Oak Ridge (ARDM-1).
Built at Alameda in 1944, the Oak Ridge is 81-years young and during her lengthy Naval career was based in the Philippines, Groton, Rota, and Kings Bay until she was disposed of in 2001. The 551-foot dock can lift ships up to 437-feet long, making her ideal for the Coast Guard as her largest vessels, the new National Security Cutters, are just 418-feet oal.
The dock was transferred to the Coasties in 2001 with the assumption she had about five more years left on her before she would be condemned, and Eagle may be Oak Ridge‘s last customer.
The dock is in bad shape.
According to a 2015 DHS report, she sank in 2011 resulting in $4 million in repairs and costs $1 million per year to barely maintain– 11 times greater than the more modern Syncrolift shiplift system the Yard has installed.
Her gantry cranes, installed in 1963, are inoperative as “it is no longer cost-effective to fabricate replacement parts for crane engines, structure, and controls.” Further, “Other installed equipment including diesel generators, auxiliary pumps, boilers, streamlines, welding gas, air compressors, airlines, and crew berthing have all been removed from
service over the past 10 years as a result of disrepair.”
As far as her hull, she is supposed to be dry-docked herself every 10 years but hasn’t been since the 1990s and there are no active shipyards within a safe distance from the CG Yard capable of drydocking her, so, “this work has been permanently deferred until Oak Ridge is removed from service,” which is expected in 2018.
As for Eagle, on the other hand, the last mid to walk her decks likely hasn’t been born yet.
As someone who has written a number of zombie books (shameless plug), I found the above attempt to run black powder hand loads through an AR-15 very interesting.
Using normal primers and powder-coated lead bullets, he runs them through a Ruger Blackout in .300BLK with the gas system opened up all the way and gets some decent accuracy, though the smoky loads only hit about 900fps. Of course, they jam on every shot, but even taking time to clear the action it is a faster follow-up shot than a Civil War-era muzzleloader any day.
CBS takes an in-depth look at Joint Interagency Task Force South. Based out of Key West, it’s commanded by a USCG flag officer but includes assets from throughout USSOUTHCOM and 4th Fleet. It’s a neat video with a lot of access granted. They go inside the CIC of a National Security Cutter– USCGC James (WMSL-754)– see HITRON fire some rounds, and get a close up of Bigfoot, the narcosub over at Truman Annex that everyone poses for pictures with.
The Coast Guard just dropped the names for the first flight of 11 new 360-foot Offshore Patrol Cutters.
The agency stuck with the naming convention of recycling historical cutter names which is so much better than, oh, naming them after current members of Congress in charge of purse strings or, say, the political whims of the SECNAV.
From the CG:
The first flight of 11 OPCs will include the Active, Argus, Diligence and Vigilant, named for four cutters of the first fleet [of Alexander Hamilton’s 10 revenue service cutters in 1791] and subsequent cutters with the same names.
OPC Pickering will pay homage to the distinguished combat record of the Quasi-War cutter Pickering.
OPCs Chase and Rush will bear two cutter names long associated with the Coast Guard, most recently with two high-endurance cutters of the 378-foot Hamilton-class [who put in time on the gun line off Vietnam.]
The first offshore patrol cutter is scheduled for delivery in fiscal year 2021.
Happy 227th Birthday to the U.S. Coast Guard!
From the top:
FM COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//CG-092//
SUBJ: COAST GUARD’s 227TH BIRTHDAY
1. August 4th, 2017 will mark the Coast Guard’s 227th birthday.
2. On that date in 1790, President George Washington signed an Act, passed by
Congress and championed by the Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton,
that authorized the creation of a federal fleet of 10 revenue cutters charged
with enforcing laws and protecting commerce of the new nation. Since the
federal government did not have a navy at the time, the small federal fleet of
sea-going, revenue cutters was the only naval force capable of protecting U.S.
maritime interests on the high seas and along the coastline. National defense
has therefore been a core mission since our founding.
3. Revenue and later Coast Guard cutters, along with the men and women in
Coast Guard service, participated in all of the nation’s major conflicts since
its founding, including the Vietnam War. Now 50 years hence, we honor those
who served our nation in Southeast Asia.
4. Coast Guardsmen first answered the call after the Navy requested Coast
Guard support for operations in the waters off South Vietnam. Coast Guard
afloat units, both WPBs and WHECs, served in two Coast Guard squadrons in the
waters of Southeast Asia and engaged in combat patrols, gunfire support, and
humanitarian missions. After a request for navigation support, the Coast Guard
established Long Range Navigation (LORAN) stations throughout Southeast Asia,
in an important operation codenamed “Tight Reign”. Additionally, Coast Guard
aviators served with Air Force search and rescue units and the buoy tenders
established maritime aids to navigation. A Port Security and Waterways Detail
and Explosive Loading Detachments ensured the safe loading and unloading of
vital munitions in theatre and a Merchant Marine Detail provided needed
support of merchant marine personnel and vessels. Many Coast Guardsmen and
their Public Health Service shipmates conducted numerous medical support
visits to South Vietnamese villages and distributed food, clothing, and toys
to those in need.
5. The Coast Guard role in South Vietnam ended with the closing of LORAN
stations in South Vietnam and Thailand in 1975, as Saigon fell to North
Vietnamese forces. The Coast Guard’s service was not without cost, as eight
Coast Guardsmen perished in the line of duty in Vietnam, while another
61 were wounded in action. It would do well, on this Coast Guard birthday,
to remember their sacrifices along with the sacrifices of all Coast Guardsmen
who gave their all in service of their country.
6. Over the next years the Coast Guard will continue to support efforts to
recognize the service of its veterans in Vietnam. For more information
please visit our website at https://www.uscg.mil/history/ops/wars/VTN/VTN
-Index.asp. Eligible Coast Guard Vietnam Veterans may obtain lapel pins from
The Vietnam War Commemoration. For details please see:
7. Ms. Ellen Engleman Conners, Acting Director of Governmental and Public
8. Internet release authorized.
While the concept of a platoon of main battle tanks rattling down a major metro street these days sounds foreign outside of Third World coups, in Korean War-era Detroit, it was just another parade.
It should be noted Chrysler’s Detroit Tank Arsenal built over 15,000 M4s during the war, in no less than eight variants, or about a third of the entire Sherman production line.
View of tanks on Woodward Ave. during the parade celebrating the 250th Birthday Festival of Detroit. Large American flag is draped on office building; spectators stand on sidewalks. Stamped on back: “Don Cooper, advertising & illustrative photography, 8619 Grand River, Detroit 6, Michigan. Detroit, 1701-1951, 250th Birthday Festival, official committee.” Handwritten on back: “Views of the big parade, July 28, 1951, Detroit’s 250th Birthday Festival.” Courtesy of the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library