Tag Archives: cutter

Not bad for a narcosubmarino

Spanish authorities arrested two citizens of Ecuador near the beach of O Foxo, Galicia on 24 November. Their ride? A scuttled 66-foot narco submarine carrying over three tons of coke. It is believed to be the first such craft to be seized from Latin America in Europe.

The Guardia Civil is currently trying to figure out if it was launched from a mother ship or made the entire journey on its own. Keep in mind that it is roughly 5,000 miles from the northeast tip of South America to Spain in a straight line. With an average speed of about 10 knots, said narco boat likely took more than three weeks to make a solo crossing only to be seen at the end of its run after things didn’t work out.

Meanwhile, the USCG recently popped a similar such craft in the Eastern Pacific, where they are increasingly common. How long before these are seen in asymmetric warfare by users carrying dirty bombs into a vital port or chokepoint?

Yikes

U.S. Coast Guard boarding team members climb aboard a suspected smuggling vessel in September. Crews intercepted a drug-laden, 40-foot self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) in the Eastern Pacific carrying approximately 12,000 pounds of cocaine, worth over $165 million and apprehended four suspected drug smugglers. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo)

USS Tampa flag found

The 240-foot Modoc-class of cutters was conceived for blue water use by the new Post-Great War multi-mission Coast Guard in the 1920s. Capable of carrying three 5-inch guns, a pretty stout armament for such vessels, they had a turbo-electric drive that could push them to 16 knots, which was thought to be good enough for government work. The four sisters, Modoc, Mojave, Haida and Tampa, went on to give hard service in WWII.

Speaking of which, USCGC Tampa (WPG-48) was built by Union in Oakland for a cost of $775,000 and commissioned in 1921. She would spend the next two decades running 15-day patrols from Boston, serving time in the International Ice Patrol, catching bootleggers and keeping the sea lanes safe for travel. The latter included famously saving 140 souls from the burning Ward Line steamer SS Morro Castle in 1932.

Transferring to Mobile, Alabama in the late 1930s, Tampa came under naval jurisdiction in November 1941, a month before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, as USS Tampa (WPG-48). This caused a shift back to the North Atlantic for coastwise convoy escort runs in the Greenland area along with sisters Modoc (WPG-46) and Mojave (WPG-47).

USS Tampa (WPG 48) at anchor at Kungya Bay, Greenland, as seen from USS Bear (AG 29) while on Arctic patrol. The photograph released on May 1, 1944. NARA 80-G-225156

In this work, she fought U-boats, rescued survivors, landing parties to guard key facilities, and helped fight the “Weather War” to keep German Met units from setting up vital camps in the Arctic alongside such floating relics as the old cutter Bear.

From ship structure and a 20mm gun, onboard a coast guard cutter on the Greenland patrol during World War II. Note the variety of tools in use, including a baseball bat. The ship appears to be a 240-foot (“TAMPA”) class cutter. NH 96116

U.S. Coast Guard Combat Cutter, The Tampa, which patrols the North Atlantic, in the resumption of the International Ice Patrol World.” Accession #: L41-03 Catalog #: L41-03.02.02

Although paid off in 1947, her name was key to USCG history, with the first USCGC Tampa lost during the Great War and the second Tampa being the aforementioned WWII vet. This led to the name being reissued in 1984 to the 270-foot Bear-class medium endurance cutter USCGC Tampa (WMEC-902), which was in line with the rest of the naming convention for the class as all were named after famous Coast Guard vessels.

This week, Alex Obrizok a 96-year-old man and resident from North Carolina, traveled to Portsmouth, Va where the current Tampa is based. A former WWII USS Tampa vet, Obrizok has earlier this summer shown a special relic to a 2003 USCGA grad and member of WMEC-902s crew whose wedding he was attending– USS Tampa‘s ensign. Obrizok wanted the ensign to go home.

“It’s a beautiful flag,” said Obrizok. “It survived all these years and belongs with her namesake, it belongs to the Tampa.” (USCG photo)

VADM Scott Buschman, Coast Guard Atlantic Area Commander, presided over the ceremony and thanked Obrizok for the historical flag, his service to his country and for making the trip to meet the crewmembers aboard the current Tampa.

Ninety-six-year-old Alex Obrizok was able to keep this flag from the 1946 decommissioned Tampa over the last 70 years. Obrizok, who lives in North Carolina, returned to the current Tampa on Thursday, Nov. 21 at the Coast Guard base in Portsmouth, Virginia to give the current crew the flag. The World War II veteran also read promotions for four crew members. Photo of the flag that is being kept on the ship, Nov. 25, 2019. (L. Todd Spencer/The Virginian-Pilot)
https://www.pilotonline.com/military/vp-nw-fz-coast-guard-veteran-flag-20191128-eehkvfd5xzajtd2k5hn6ngv224-story.html

Warship Wednesday, June 27, 2018: The unsung turbo-electric wonder boat

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, June 27, 2018: The unsung turbo-electric wonder boat

Courtesy Commandant U.S. Coast Guard, Catalog #: NH 55224

Here we see the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Chelan (WPG-45), lead ship of the 250-foot Lake-class of patrol gunboats in 1930, likely off Alaska. Although the Lakes didn’t give a lot of service overall to their country of birth, they did yeomen work for the Allies in WWII and the humble Chelan, innovative when she was built, had the distinction of landing blows on enemy submarines (of German, Italian and Japanese origin– a hat trick) in several theaters.

The modern USCG, formed in 1916 from an amalgamation of a number of different small federal maritime services, was stuck by and large with the craft it inherited from the old Revenue Marine of the Treasury Department such as the sail-rigged steel-hulled cruising cutters Gresham, McCulloch and Seneca. By Prohibition, these ships, many slow and elderly, were phased out in favor of newer 165-foot and 240-foot (Tampa-class) cutters augmented by 31 relatively new destroyers from the Navy. However, the destroyers weren’t good sea ships and the Navy eventually wanted them back, leading to the improved Lake-class.

Designed specifically by the Coast Guard, engineering Capt. Quincy B. Newman worked up a cutting edge (for the time) turbo-electric plant that ran the whole ship from a single main turbine. As noted by Schenia, these were the first ships to use a G.E. alternating current synchronous motor for propulsion with Curtis auxiliary generators tied to the main. The ship used two small B&W boilers for light off, but after the motor was engaged the steam wasn’t needed. It should be noted that this class predated the giant use of turbo-electric drives on the carriers Lexington and Saratoga.

The whole affair was very efficient and allowed for Chelan and her sisters to pack a very large commo locker in their day– three different receivers and matching transmitters. It should be noted that the Prohibition USCG service’s intelligence branch was at the time the country’s leader in HF/DF and SIGINT, used for tracking bootleggers on Rum Row.

Caption: Biggest and costliest yet. This is the radio room on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Chelan, the newest cutter of the service now anchored at the Navy Yard, Washington D.C. This radio room houses three transmitters and three receiving sets. On the maiden trip, she picked up an SOS and towed schooner 1,500 miles, a record tow. Ensign Leslie B. Tollaksen, is shown in the photograph. Harris & Ewing, photographer. 1928 November 26. LOC LC-H2- B-3101 [P&P]

The ice-strengthened hull (built for use on the post-Titanic International Ice Patrol) was an improvement of the 240-foot Tampa-class that preceded them, with a raked stem and cruiser stern to make them handle high seas better and they could make 17.3-knots, which is decent for a 1920s gunboat not intended for fleet operations. Armament was one 5″/51cal main gun forward of the bridge house and a 3″/50 pointed over the stern with a pair of 6-pounder (57mm) guns port and starboard just after the main battery.

The 10 ships of the class, all named after lakes, were built by Bethlehem in Quincy (the first five), G. E’s Hanlon Dry Dock in Oakland (the next four) and the 10th at United Drydock on Staten Island at a cost of $900,000 a pop. Chelan, named for a 50-mile long freshwater lake in Washington State, was first with her keel laid 14 November 1927. The last to complete was Cayuga on 22 March 1932– a whole class constructed from start to finish in under five years. Go ahead and try that today!

Chelan cut her teeth on the international ice patrols and patrolled the dozens of serious club regattas up and down the East Coast that were popular in the day, besides flexing her muscles towards the end of the federal government’s war on booze. Transferred out west soon after, stationed then in Seattle in the Pacific Northwest, she left out on a regular series of Bering Sea patrols in Alaskan waters each summer that was replete with oceanography, survey and met duties (the ship’ sick bay was temporarily rebuilt to serve as a laboratory,) in addition to fisheries patrol and enforcing federal law in the wild territory.

She would also serve as a floating federal court and, in 1936, carry a Congressional Party to Unalaska for a fact-finding mission that resulted in the Alaska Indian Reorganization Act.

Off an Alaskan port, “U.S. Navy Alaskan Survey Photo.” Description: Courtesy Commandant U.S. Coast Guard, 1930. Catalog #: NH 55225

An interesting 376-page report on one of these summer cruises is here.

By 1937, Chelan was back on the East Coast, based in Boston, Massachusetts, and conducting more ice patrols. That March she answered a distress call from 1,600-ton Norwegian steamer SS Bjerkli in a fresh northwesterly gale, rescuing 16 officers and crew.

Chelan undergoing yard maintenance (USCG photo)

Her sisters throughout the 1930s were similarly engaged in conducting routine patrols, cadet cruises, rescues and serving as training ships. Sister Cayuga spent 1936 with Navy Squadron 40-T enforcing the rule of law off Spain during that country’s Civil War while Itasca served as the point ship (due to her large radio suite) for Amelia Earhart’s failed bid to reach Howland Island from Lae, Papua New Guinea on her round-the-world flight.

By 1939, Chelan, now armed with depth charges and sound gear, was keeping a weather eye out to keep the country neutral in the raging World War while keeping abreast of North Atlantic weather patterns and conducting surveys and war patrols around Greenland the following year.

Coast Guard radio meteorograph launch 1940 (Radiosonde Museum of North America photo)

Then in September came the class’s part in the infamous “Destroyers for Bases Agreement” between the U.S. and UK that saw 50 aging WWI-era Caldwell, Wickes, and Clemson class destroyers largely from mothballs followed by the 10 Lake-class cutters on Lend-Lease, the latter under a decade old, transferred to London in exchange for access to a number British overseas bases.

(For the six-page original 1940 press release, see this page at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum Collections)

By twist of fate, old Revenue Marine vessels that the Lakes replaced, such as Gresham, McCulloch and Seneca, were repurchased by MARAD for the Coast Guard to press back into service once the U.S. entered the war.

The transfers took place at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where the RN Queen Elizabeth-class battleship HMS Malaya was under repair after being torpedoed by U-106, alongside the Revenge-class HMS Resolution that was likewise having her hull patched up after she was torpedoed by the French submarine Bévéziers, with dreadnought men forming scratch crews.

Chelan was handed over 3 April 1941 and renamed HMS Lulworth (Y.60) while her class was designated as Banff-class escort sloops while flying HMs ensign. She arrived in Clyde the next month and LCDR Clive Gwinner, RN, was made her first British skipper.

For reference:

USCGC Cayuga (HMS Totland)
USCGC Champlain (HMS Sennen)
USCGC Itasca (HMS Gorleston)
USCGC Mendota (HMS Culver)
USCGC Ponchartrain (HMS Hartland)
USCGC Saranac (HMS Banff)
USCGC Shoshone (HMS Landguard)
USCGC Tahoe (HMS Fishguard)
USCGC Sebago (HMS Walney)

By July, with a British 4-inch gun installed in place of her U.S. 5-incher, her 3-inch and 6-pdrs deleted and a few 40mm and 20mm AAA guns added to a suite that now included many more racks of depth charges, Chelan/Lulworth was deployed for convoy defense on the UK-West Africa route.

Given camouflage, she would later add RN HF/DF and Type 271 Radar gear to her party favors.

Not to run through the minutiae of her daily activities, she would spend the rest of the war on an impressive series of convoys, forming a part of at least 47 of them all the way through the summer of 1945 across the North Atlantic, North African and Burma theaters. The highlights are as follows:

In August 1941 she picked up 27 survivors from the torpedoed Norwegian merchant Segundo off Ireland followed by 37 survivors from the British merchant Niceto de Larrinaga and 5 from the British merchant St. Clair II off the Canaries the next month.

While escorting convoy OS 10 on 31 October 1941, Lulworth attacked U-96 with a spread 27 depth charges during a full moon. Lothar-Günther Buchheim, a Sonderführer in a propaganda unit of the Kriegsmarine and later author of Das Boot, was aboard U-96 at the time. His record of the incident was included in his non-fiction U-Boot-Krieg book published in 1976.

Kapitänleutnant Heinrich Lehmann-Willenbrock (white cap), commander of U-96, photographed by Lothar-Günther Buchheim during a depth charge attack

On 12 May 1942, Chelan defended convoy SL109 bound for Liverpool from the combined efforts of U-126, U-161 and U-128, depth charging until she ran out of cans. Her sister Mendota was not so lucky, hit by two torpedoes fired by U-105 and sank south-west of Ireland following a magazine explosion.

In June while off the Azores, Chelan reclaimed 20 survivors from the torpedoed British tanker Geo H. Jones from the sea.

HMS Lulworth Oiling from the Tanker, San Tirsan (Art.IWM ART LD 3815) image: A view looking down onto the wet deck at the bow of the ship. On the deck some sailors dressed in waterproof gear are adjusting a large pipe which runs off the side of the deck. Another ship sails up ahead and the silhouettes of two more ships are to be seen on the horizon. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/5899

On 14 July 1942, while defending convoy SL 115, she was damaged sustained while ramming and sinking the Italian submarine Pietro Calvi on the surface off the Azores.

While on her eighth patrol, Calvi was rammed and sunk on 14 July 1942 by convoy SL 115 escort HMS Lulworth. Three officers and 32 sailors of her 66-member crew survived and, picked up by RN vessels, spent the rest of their war in a POW camp. She sank six Allied ships for a total of 34,000grt.

Lulworth, along with her sisters, was assigned to the invasion of North Africa, Operation Torch, where fellow Lakes Ponchartrain (sunk by the French destroyer Typhon) and Sebago (set aflame by the French sloop Surprise,) were lost at Oran while transporting Allied troops in close enough to assault the harbor.

HMS LULWORTH (FL 5525) At anchor. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205120468

By September 1943, she was detailed to the Eastern Fleet operating in the Indian Ocean where she depth charged Japanese submarine I37. Fast forward to 1945, and Chelan was present at the Bay of Bengal for the Dracula landings by the British. Damaged in a grounding in June 1945, she finished the war in Rangoon as an element of the Zipper landings along with sisters Champlain/HMS Sennen and Tahoe/Fishguard, the latter of which were too far used up to ever make it back to the U.S after VJ-Day.

Her British equipment removed, Chelan was handed back to the U.S. at Boston on 5th January 1946 and sold for scrap the next year after being raided for her parts to keep a quartet of her sisters still alive. A sad ending to a ship that had a lot of history and was only 15 years old.

Of the four other Lake-class vessels that survived British service long enough to be returned post-war, most had a short run back with their long-lost family as they had been replaced by the newer 255-foot cutters of the Owasco-class (which, embarrassingly enough, often used recycled Lake names, which required the USCG to rename the original 250-foot Lakes save for Itasca and Champlain, when put back into service.) Cayuga/Totland became USCGC Mocoma while Saranac/Baniff became USCGC Tampa.

By 1954, all were decommissioned and headed for the scrappers.

The class is remembered in a scale model of the Baniff-class escort sloop by White Ensign.

Specs:


Displacement: 2,100 full (1929), 1662 trial
Length: 250 ft (76 m)
Beam: 42 ft (13 m)
Draft: 12 ft 11 in (3.94 m)
Propulsion: 1 × General Electric turbine-driven 3,350 shp (2,500 kW) electric motor, 2 boilers, 1 4-bladed prop
Fuel Oil: 90,000 gallons (300t)
Speed:
14.8 kn (27.4 km/h; 17.0 mph) cruising
17.5 kn (32.4 km/h; 20.1 mph) maximum
Complement: 97 (as built), 200 in RN service
Armament:
(As built)
1 × 5″/51
1 × 3″/50
2 × 6-pounder (57 mm)
(1939)
1 × 5″/51
1 × 3″/50
1 Y-gun depth charge projector, depth charge rack
(1941, British service)
1x 102/45 CP Mk II QF 4-inch Mk V naval gun
1x 76/45 Mk II QF 12-pounder 1gun
2x 40mm Bofors
4x 20mm/70 Mk III
1x 24-cell Hedgehog Mk X ASW-RL
2x depth charge throwers
2x stern depth charge racks with 8 charges on each. (100 cans carried altogether)

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Warship Wednesday, June 7, 2017: The first stripe and the savior of the Queen

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday, June 7, 2017: The first stripe and the savior of the Queen

Here we see an oncoming Coast Guard Cutter through an attack periscope of a “U-boat.” She is the Owasco-class gunboat/high endurance cutter Androscoggin (WPG/WHEC-68) and was the first to carry the now-customary racing stripe of the service. More on this submarine action below.

The word Androscoggin is an Indian term meaning “fishing place for alewives” or “spear fishing” and is used for a river formed on the Maine-New Hampshire border as well as a county and lake in the same area. The name was first used in U.S. maritime service by the U.S. Revenue Cutter Androscoggin, a 210-foot vessel built for the service in Delaware in 1908.

USRC Androscoggin (1907-1922) at the dock at Boston Navy Yard, MA, May 14, 1920. The wooden planking of the hull can clearly be seen. NHC S-553-K

One of the first warships (she was armed with a quartet of four pounders as well as demolition charges and mines to sink deflects found at sea) designed to break ice, she was used in many high-profile rescues at sea under amazingly harsh conditions as well as participating in the early International Ice Patrol after the loss of RMS Titanic. In 1914, she interned the North German Lloyd Line steamship SS Kronprinzessin Cecilie— with $10m worth of German gold aboard– as the Great War came to Europe and saved her from likely capture by British ships on the Atlantic– a fun point when we consider the follow-on Cutter Androscoggin.

Speaking of which, let’s get to the 255-foot Owasco or “Indian tribe” -class.

Designed during World War II to replace a few elderly cutters dating back to the 1900s as well as 10 Lake-class vessels transferred to Britain in 1940 under the Destroyers for Bases deal, the 13 Owascos were short (225 feet) and beamy (43 feet) making them as wide as a FFG7 class frigate of today but about 200 feet shorter. With a displacement of over 2,000-tons at full load, they were wider and as heavy as a Fletcher-class destroyer of the day but classified as gunboats (PGs) by the Navy.

They were the most heavily armed Coast Guard ships of WWII, with twin 5″/38 mounts fore and aft, a pair of quad 40mm Bofors, 4x20mm/80 singles, twin depth charge racks over the stern, 6 Y-gun depth charge projectors, and a Mark 10 Hedgehog anti-submarine mortar device. Besides the larger Wind-class icebreakers operated by both the Navy and the Coast Guard, and the 327-foot Treasury-class cutters, the Owascos were the only WWII-era ships built for the service that had a fire control radar (a Mk26). The initial design even included an amidships floatplane and catapult, but this was deleted.

Class leader USCGC Owasco, 18 July 1945 off San Pedro CA; Photo No. SP-9944; US Navy photo. What a chunky monkey.

With their overly complex turbo-electric plant and low-speed (17 knots wide open), these boats were not really meant for high seas/heavy weather but for close-in littoral (16-foot draft) work and plodding convoy operations.

Androscoggin’s sister, the 255-ft. U.S. Coast Guard Cutter ESCANABA, based in New Bedford, Massachusetts, takes a salty shower bath in rough North Atlantic weather on ocean station ‘Delta’, 650 miles southeast of Newfoundland and east of Nova Scotia

The first 11 of the class were built by the Western Pipe & Steel Company at San Pedro, California, while the last two—Mendota and Pontchartrain—were completed at the hands of the by the Coast Guard Yard at Curtis Bay, Maryland. None made a significant impact on WWII, with class leader Owasco commissioning on 18 May 1945.

CGC Androscoggin, the last of the class built at San Pedro and the last of the design to be completed, commissioned on 26 September 1946, a full year after the war ended. Her first station was in Boston where she spent until 1950 on weather stations in the Atlantic, sans most of her wartime armament.

Original caption states: “The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter ANDROSCOGGIN (WPG-68), shown here leaving port bound for Argentia, Newfoundland, the ANDROSCOGGIN has served primarily as an Ocean Weather Stations vessel in the North Atlantic. Circa 1950; no photo number; photographer unknown. Note the appearance of her contrasted against the Oswasco’s WWII armament and camo.

Transferred to Miami in 1959, Androscoggin would spend the next 23 years off and on there conducting law enforcement and search and rescue operations, as well as occasional stints on ocean weather station tours– the latter spent performing 28 days obtaining meteorological and oceanography data and information. As such, she had her sole twin 5″ mount replaced with a more practical single tube.

Atlantic Weather Observation Service “ocean stations” on which thousands of Coast Guardsmen served through most of the Cold War

Androscoggin also helped support the Navy’s Fleet Sonar School in Key West, serving as the USCG’s school ship there on occasion. During this time, she spent a lot of hours in war games with the various WWII Balao-class subs stationed in the Keys, and as such her sonar and electronics were updated from 1940s-era sets to the current fleet standard.

Original caption states: “The 255-foot U.S. Coast Guard Cutter ANDROSCOGGIN, stationed at Miami, Fla., as a training and search and rescue ship, is now carrying specially trained U.S. Weather Bureau observers to gather upper-air weather information during her patrols in the Gulf of Mexico. The ANDROSCOGGIN makes many training cruises a year and performs search and rescue work in the South Atlantic and Gulf. In connection with law enforcement, she patrols the Campeche Banks, and are of fishing grounds off the town of Campeche in the Gulf used by hundreds of fishing vessels of the United States and Mexico.”; 13 August 1958; Photo No. 5821; photographer unknown.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, she chopped to help the Navy, picking up the Navy Expeditionary Medal.

In 1965, Androscoggin was the first in the service to pick up the USCG’s new “racing stripe” design.

“The Andy tied up at Base Miami Beach. The picture was taken right after the hash mark was painted on the bow for the first time in 1965.” Provided to Coast Guard Historians Office courtesy of former-Androscoggin crewman John Burmester.

A Technicolor close up of her stripe in 1966 with a bone in her mouth. Note the design has changed over the years in respect to the shield and its placement. Also, note the .50 cal and Hedgehog just under the bridge windows.

In 1966, she was detached to the Bahamas where she helped support the filming of the Paramount film “Assault on a Queen” in which Frank Sinatra and company salvage a lost German U-boat and use her to stop and rob the RMS Queen Mary.

As noted by the Coast Guard’s Historian’s Office: “In the final segments of the film, Androscoggin, through the miracle of special effects, saves the day by ramming and sinking a renegade submarine, thereby thwarting Sinatra’s dastardly plan to rob RMS Queen Mary on the high seas.”

Many of the ocean scenes in the filming of “Assault on a Queen” took place in the huge man-made pool that was the “Sersen Tank” at Fox’s Ranch in Malibu Canyon. Built in the 1960s, dozens of films from “Cleopatra” to “Tora! Tora! Tora!” had their water scenes shot there. The Sinatra crew’s static U-boat set was built there and the footage of Androscoggin‘s ice-strengthened bow rushing from the horizon as the German skipper fires his P-38 in the last act of defiance was superimposed.

Her movie days behind her, she was sent to war.

In 1967, Androscoggin was dispatched to the Navy’s control again, heading to Vietnam for a nine-month stint in Operation Market Time, the interdiction effort off the coast of that country to stop reinforcements from the North from making their way south via water. Androscoggin was assigned to Coast Guard Squadron Three, Vietnam, from 4 December 1967 to 4 August 1968, ditching most of her remaining ASW gear for a pair of 81mm mortars (used for firing illumination rounds) and a half-dozen M2 .50 cals for keeping small boats at bay.

(At least the hammer on the 1911 is down) “A captured Viet Cong from the morning’s raid by the junk force and 82-footer is guarded while his companion is undergoing surgery aboard the Andy in a futile attempt to save his life for further interrogation.” US Coast Guard Cutter ANDROSCOGGIN Deployment in Viet-Nam; Nov. 1967–Sept. 1968 [Cruise Book], page 86.

In addition to sinking or destroying 106 enemy sampans, on the night of 28 Feb/1 March 1968, Androscoggin shot it out with a large armed North Vietnamese steel-hull trawler moving munitions down south at the mouth of the Song Cau River.

The explosion of VC trawler, 1 March 1968, destroyed by Androscoggin. US Coast Guard Cutter ANDROSCOGGIN Deployment in Viet-Nam; Nov. 1967–Sept. 1968 [Cruise Book], page 65.

“. . .Other days we were tossed by a combination of sea, the wind, and long Pacific swell!” US Coast Guard Cutter ANDROSCOGGIN Deployment in Viet-Nam; Nov. 1967–Sept. 1968 [Vietnam Cruise Book], p. 5.

US Coast Guard Cutter ANDROSCOGGIN in heavy seas while deployed in Vietnam

During her 304-day mission from Miami to Miami, she steamed 64,676 miles and fired 4,147 5-inch shells from her main gun over the course of 44 naval gunfire support missions– some with as little as three feet of brackish water under her keel. Her crew also investigated over 2,000 surface contacts, conducted 17 medical missions ashore and delivered four babies.

In her 27-years afloat, she played host to several crew members who went on to great things. Roland Hemond was an NCO on “Andy” in the 1950s and played on her softball team before going to become one of baseball’s most successful executives, spending 23 years as a general manager with the Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles before becoming the chief executive officer of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The well-liked and respected 23rd Commandant of the Coast Guard, Adm. Thad Allen (USCGA 1971) was a newly minted 22-year-old ensign on Androscoggin when it came to his duty to file the customary New Year’s Eve Log going into 1972 as the ship sat tied up at Miami Beach, and I think it is one of the better than I have read:

Such as I, on numbered ships,
on many nights, for countless years,
Have toyed their minds in search of words
To describe a mooring to some pier;
Or the loneliness out underway,
Remembering gentle words and tears,
And find some clever way to state
The movements of a thousand years.
So I, like them, with pen in hand
Here on these pages now commit
The status of our weather ship
And the varied functions there, to wit.
Our mooring lines run two by two
Secured are we this year so new
Berth, Foxtrot, to which our hawsers reach
Is to our port in Miami Beach.
Commander, Coast Guard District Seven
Sits above us in the heavens.
He gives us orders and transfers souls
And exerts his operational control.
Since airplanes in the foremast look pretty unsightly
All of our lights are burning brightly.
To wet our throats and light our way
Throughout these Charlie-status days
Upon the dock we must rely
For telephone and shore ties
So we may protect those here inside
We have sit Yoke modified
And to insure this ship stays sound
The messenger is making hourly rounds.
Pollution abatement is the Coast Guard’s pride
But we are pumping our sewage over the side
And last, there are those more lucky than we
In duty section one, two and three
For to keep the wolf away from the door
The duty belongs to section four.
While at home with family and fireside bright
The commanding officer is ashore tonight.
…with duties done and entries made,
I can only sit and ponder
The pathways through the coming year
And courses we must wander.
Ours is such and duty calls,
But the day must come for us to see
The people of the Earth walk hand in hand
And all nations are one and free.
Until that time we all will pray
That we may find each other
Then stop the wars that mean our doom
And walk the Earth as brothers…
Few creatures are stirring to see the year slip,
Brow quite wrinkled and dark eyes set deep
Love, peace, and joy are there to be found

With the Coast Guard’s post-Vietnam draw-down and a dozen new Hamilton-class 378-foot cutters joining the fleet, the 13 Owascos were retired en bloc between 1973-75, with Androscoggin decommissioned on 27 February 1973, and sold for scrap on 7 October 1974. Few reminders of the class remain.

Androscoggin‘s memory is maintained by a dedicated group of former crewmen and her log books, going all the way back to 1947, are in the National Archives.

There is this piece of maritime art, “Weather decks secure” by CDR Don Van Liew, of Androscoggin at sea.

You can always watch Assault on a Queen, from which stock footage of Androscoggin has been recycled into a number of 1960s and 70s TV shows.

And of course, the racing stripe lives on…and is now the standard identification for coast guard vessels around the world under dozens of flags.

Even the Russians Coast Guard uses it!

Specs:

USCGC Androscoggin (WPG-68; WHEC-68); no caption/number; photographer/date unknown. Provided courtesy of former Androscoggin crewman William C. Bishop to Coast Guard Historians Office. He noted: “I believe this picture was taken after we left the shipyard in 66 or 67 steaming through the Chesapeake Bay after the midship superstructure was added before our deployment to Viet Nam in 67.”

Displacement: 1,978 fl (1966); 1,342 light (1966)
Length: 254’oa; 245’bp
Navigation Draft: 17’3” max (1966) Beam: 43’1” max
Main Engines: 1 Westinghouse electric motor driven by a turbine. SHP: 4,000 total (1945)
Performance, Maximum Sustained: 17.0 kts, 6,157-mi radius (1966)
Performance, Economic: 10.0 kts., 10,376-mi radius (1966)
Fuel Capacity: 141,755 gal (Oil, 95%)
Complement: 10 officers, 3 warrants, 130 men (1966)
Electronics:
(1946)
Radar: SR, SU
Sonar: QJA
(1966)
Detection Radar: SPS-23, SPS-29, Mk 26, Mk 27
Sonar: SQS-1
Armament:
(Designed)
2 x twin 5 inch/38 cal. dual purpose gun mounts, one fore and one aft, 2 x quad 40mm AA gun mounts, 2 x depth charge tracks; 6 x “K” gun depth charge projectors, 1 x hedgehog A/S projector.
(1958)
1 x 5”/38 Mk 12m Mod 6 w/ Mk 52 Mod 3 director and 26-4 fire control radar;
1 x Mk 10 Mod 1 A/S projector;
2 x Mk 32 ASW TT
(1966)
1 x 5”/38 Mk 12m Mod 6 w/ Mk 52 Mod 3 director and 26-4 fire control radar;
2 x 81mm mortars for illum
6 x M2 .50 caliber guns

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All tricks, no treats: Coasties chalk up another sneaky narco sub, making 43 total

The Alameda, California-based USCGC Waesche (WMSL-751), one of the new 418-foot Legend-class National Security Cutters, offloaded 39,000 pounds of cocaine Thursday at Naval Base San Diego– including a large bust from a narco sub.

The self-propelled semi-submersible, or SPSS, was stopped in the Pacific Ocean off Central America on September 6.

Upon sighting the vessel, the cutter launched two fast pursuit boats with boarding teams and an armed helicopter crew to interdict the SPSS. Five suspects, apprehended by the Coasties (where are you going to go in open ocean?) attempted to scuttle the dope boat as water filled the smuggler to just below the helm.

Waesche crew members boarded the sinking vessel and were able to dewater it using portable pumps, allowing boarding officers to safely remove over 5,600 pounds of cocaine from the SPSS. It is the sixth such submersible captured this year by the service and the 43rd total.

According to a fact sheet from the service, Coast Guardsmen apprehended a total 585 suspected drug smugglers in Fiscal Year 2016– a new record for the service, up from 503 suspected drug smugglers last year.

Warship Wednesday Aug 3, 2016: The Grand Ole Bear

Here at LSOZI, we are going to take off every Wednesday for a look at the old steam/diesel navies of the 1859-1946 time period and will profile a different ship each week. These ships have a life, a tale all of their own, which sometimes takes them to the strangest places. – Christopher Eger

Warship Wednesday Aug 3, 2016: The Grand Ole Bear

With tomorrow being the 226th birthday of the U.S. Coast Guard (by proxy of the Revenue Marine Service), I figured we would get a jump on it by celebrating their most famous vessel today.

Bear-Misc-Photos_page36_image13

Here we see the one-of-a-kind Revenue Cutter/U.S. Navy Gunboat/Coast Guard Cutter Bear. She remained afloat some 89-years and spent about half of that in armed maritime service, making 35 patrols to Alaska, three trips to Antarctica, and serving in the Spanish-American War as well as both World Wars.

Built in 1874 by the firm of Alexander Stephen & Son in their Dundee Shipyard (Hull No. 56) on the east coast of Scotland, she was reinforced to operate in dense sea ice as a sealing vessel operating in the Far North. Crafted of live oak, with planks six inches thick and a deck of teak wood, some spots on her hull were over 30-inches thick and braced by timbers 18-inches square. A three-masted barkentine with yards on her foremast and gaffs and booms on her main and mizzen, she could make a stately 14-knots under canvass and was fitted with a steam plant that could push her at 6-knots.

Delivered to W. Grieve, Sons & Company of Dundee (and St. John), she was operated by that firm from Newfoundland until 1880 when ownership changed to one Mr. R. Steele, Jr, who continued her sealing career, completing 10 annual trips to the waters off Greenland in the search of then-valuable seal pelts.

With the fiasco that was the U.S. Army’s Greeley Expedition needing rescue from their brothers in blue, who had no such vessels capable of service in the ice, Bear was purchased for $100,000 by the U.S. Navy, 28 January 1884, at St John’s and duly commissioned after brief refit as USS Bear, 17 March 1884, with one LT. (later RADM) William Hemsley Emory (USNA 1866) in command.

After her brief naval career that involved assisting in the retrieval of Greeley and remaining associates (which can be read in more detail here) the 10-year old scratch-and-dent sealer turned rescue ship was decommissioned and struck from the Naval Register in April 1885, transferring to the Treasury Department’s Revenue Cutter Service.

Leaving New York 9 Nov after picking up a trio of 6-pounder popguns and a magazine filled with torpedoes (mines) for destroying derelicts found at sea, USRC Bear arrived in San Francisco after a fairly rapid passage of just 87 days.

Soon after arriving, she picked up her most famous master.

Captain Michael A Healy, USRC Bear. Note parrot

Captain Michael A Healy, USRC Bear. Note parrot

From the Coast Guard Historian’s office:

In 1885 the colorful “Hell Roaring”‘ Mike Healy, a dynamo of a man with an unpredictable temper, assumed command. Healy was a good skipper, and he commanded the Bear for more than nine years, longer than any other. He had another distinction as well: he was the first African-American to command a U.S. Government vessel. In time, Healy and his ship became legend in the lusty, brawling Territory of Alaska.

The Bear’s duties on the Alaskan Patrol were many. She carried mail which had accumulated at Seattle during the winter, as well as Government agents and supplies. On her trip south from Alaska, she transported Federal prisoners and other questionable characters whose presence in Alaska ‘was undesirable. The deck of the Bear often served as a court where justice was dispensed swiftly but fairly. The Bear also conducted investigations, undertook crime prevention and law enforcement. She and other cutters like her were often the only law in that turbulent part of the world. The Bear also conducted soundings to improve charts of Alaskan waters, and her surgeon furnished medical attention and surgery to natives, prospectors, missionaries, and whalers. These duties are still part of today’s Bering Sea Patrol.

"Hoisting Deer aboard the Bear, Siberia, Aug 28th 1891."; no photo number; photographer unknown. USCG Photo

“Hoisting Deer aboard the Bear, Siberia, Aug 28th 1891.”; no photo number; photographer unknown. USCG Photo

Photograph shows a Native American child and man sitting on the deck of a ship, the revenue cutter Bear during a relief voyage to rescue whalers off the Alaska coast in 1897. The man is showing the child how to smoke a pipe. By photographer Samuel Call. LOC.

Photograph shows a Native American child and man sitting on the deck of a ship, the revenue cutter Bear during a relief voyage to rescue whalers off the Alaska coast in 1897. The man is showing the child how to smoke a pipe. By photographer Samuel Call. LOC.

BEAR transporting reindeer from Siberia to Alaska

In 1897, Bear was involved in the great Overland Rescue of eight whaling vessels and 250 crewmembers who were trapped in the ice and was able to penetrate to within about 85 miles of Nome, still far too short to do the whalers any good. The ship then dispatched an over-land party of’ 1LT D. H. Jarvis, 2LT B. P. Bertholf, and Surgeon S. J. Call. Equipped with dog teams, sleds, and guides, Jarvis and his companions set out for Point Barrow.

Crew of the Revenue Cutter Bear ferrying stranded whalemen,

Crew of the Revenue Cutter Bear ferrying stranded whalemen,

Again, the Coast Guard office:

Before them lay a 1,600-mile journey through frozen, trackless wilderness. But the “Overland Expedition for the Relief of the Whalers in the Arctic Ocean” as it was ponderously called, became one of the great epics of the north.

During the exhausting journey, Jarvis and Call collected a herd of nearly 450 reindeer. Driving the herd ahead of them in the face of icy winds the party reached Point Barrow about three and one-half months after being put ashore by the Bear. To the despairing whalers, the arrival of the relief party was nothing short of a miracle.

An in-depth Harpers article from 1899 details the mission with maps and illustrations.

The Spanish-American War saw Revenue Cutters mobilized under Naval service but the slow and increasingly creaky Bear simply maintained her annual trip to Alaska and performed patrol on the West Coast on the outside prospect that a Spanish auxiliary cruiser may pop up over the horizon.

photo of the Revenue Cutter Bear 1900

This followed a tough couple of years during the Klondike and Yukon gold rushes from 1898-1900 in which she was the only law enforcement asset in the territory, her bluejackets having to enforce order on more than one occasion while in port. She likewise had to rescue many a lost landlubber who had packed aboard condemned craft in Seattle and set off for Alaskan waters or bust.

Off Barrow

Off Barrow

USRC Bear Dressed with flags circa 1900. Description: Catalog #: NH 56690

USRC Bear Dressed with flags circa 1900. Description: Catalog #: NH 56690

USRC BEAR Caption: At San Diego, California, before World War I. Description: Courtesy of Thomas P. Naughton, 1973. Catalog #: NH 92207 Copyright Owner: Naval History and Heritage Command

USRC BEAR Caption: At San Diego, California, before World War I. Description: Courtesy of Thomas P. Naughton, 1973. Catalog #: NH 92207 Copyright Owner: Naval History and Heritage Command

Bear_1910 uscg photo 1_300

Alaskan natives dancing on deck of USRC BEAR circa 1913

Alaskan natives dancing on deck of USRC BEAR circa 1913

When World War I came, Bear conducted neutrality patrols along the Alaskan coast while on 28 January 1915, the Revenue Cutter Service, and the U.S. Life-Saving Service were combined to form the United States Coast Guard.

COAST GUARD BUREAU OF TREASURY DEPARTMENT. REVENUE CUTTER 'BEAR', RIGHT, WITH S.S. CORWIN, 1916. Harris & Ewing Collection. LOC LC-H261- 6165 [P&P]

COAST GUARD BUREAU OF TREASURY DEPARTMENT. REVENUE CUTTER ‘BEAR’, RIGHT, WITH S.S. CORWIN, 1916. Harris & Ewing Collection. LOC LC-H261- 6165 [P&P]

She was officially transferred to the Navy 6 April 1917, remaining on her home station but under Naval control through the end of November 1918, picking up some more small arms including a few machine guns and a coat of hastily-applied gray paint.

Then, came another decade of more traditional service on the frozen beat.

USCGC BEAR At Point Barrow, Alaska, 21 August 1922. Catalog #: NH 91762 Copyright Owner: Naval History and Heritage Command

USCGC BEAR At Point Barrow, Alaska, 21 August 1922. Catalog #: NH 91762
Copyright Owner: Naval History and Heritage Command. Note she still maintained her 1917 “war-paint” which was not painted over with the more standard white scheme until the following year.

The midnight watch on 10 June 1924 showing the crew in the land of the midnight sun, literally. Courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard, 1930. Catalog #: NH 56694

The midnight watch on 10 June 1924 showing the crew in the land of the midnight sun, literally. Courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard, 1930. Catalog #: NH 56694

USCGC BEAR in the Arctic Ocean. Description: Courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard, 1930 Catalog #: NH 56692

USCGC BEAR in the Arctic Ocean. Description: Courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard, Catalog #: NH 56692

United States Coast Guard cutter BEAR (1884-1948), in ice pads. Description: Received from Coast Guard, 1930. Catalog #: NH 170.

United States Coast Guard cutter BEAR (1884-1948), in ice pads. Description: Received from Coast Guard, 1930. Catalog #: NH 170.

In 1929, after 35 annual deployments to Alaska and service on the periphery of two wars, Bear was removed from the Treasury Department and offered for sale, with a half-century under her keel. Her place had already been taken in the fleet with the commissioning in late 1927 of the purpose-built steel-hulled icebreaking gunboat USCGC Northland (WPG-49).

Saved from the scrappers by the city of Oakland, California, for a token fee, she was renamed Bear of Oakland and used as a museum ship.

Bear-Misc-Photos_page36_image1

In 1930, she was used as the filming location for the sealer “Ghost,” in the Milton Sills as ‘Wolf’ Larsen version of Jack London’s The Sea Wolf.

the sea wolf

Then came the famed Arctic explorer, Rear Adm. Richard E. Byrd, USN, who was looking for a (cheap but capable) vessel for his Antarctic Expedition and he purchased the Bear of Oakland from the city for just $1,050 in the Spring of 1932.

The thing is, Bear (renamed SS Jacob Ruppert) still had her 1885-mounted 6-pounders aboard (with breech blocks) which caused Byrd, officially a civilian on a civilian ship, some heartburn in Mexican ports when he stopped to recoal her on the way through the Panama Canal to Boston, but he nevertheless appeared in that New England port in August.

For visibility in the whiteout, she was painted coal black

Leaving for the Antarctic in 1934, the ship was vital to Byrd’s successful expedition, which included the explorer spending four months over-winter on the frozen continent that is discussed in his autobiography Alone.

Bear-Misc-Photos_page36_image2

Note her black scheme

Painting by Hasta depicts Bear of Oakland, formerly USS Bear and USCGC Bear, in Antarctic Ice during Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd's Antarctic Expedition of 1933-1935

Returning to Boston in 1935, Byrd leased Ruppert/Bear to the Navy for $1 per year, and she was stored at the Boston Naval Yard in poor condition.

Then in 1939, Byrd’s United States Antarctic Service Expedition got underway and the old Bear was refitted with a diesel engine, her original figurehead was replaced with a carved polar bear, new canvas and rigging was brought aboard, and new spars and a foreyard of fresh Oregon pine were fitted.

She was given stores for 18-months, kennels for 78 sled dogs were built on deck, and a U.S. Army M2A2 light tank was heaved aboard to test in the ice. A Barkley-Grow T8P-1 two-engine seaplane was hoisted aft.

This resulted in her second official (not counting her unofficial transfers in 1898 and 1917) Navy commission as USS Bear (AG-29), 11 September 1939.

USS Bear (AG-29), formerly the US Revenue Cutter Bear, operates in Antarctic waters during the 1939-40 season as part of the U.S. Antarctic Service. [1976x1532]

USS Bear (AG-29), formerly the US Revenue Cutter Bear, operates in Antarctic waters during the 1939-40 season as part of the U.S. Antarctic Service. The aesthetic of the seaplane on a three-master is pure 1930s.

She left for her second trip to the Frozen South, 22 November, flagship to the force that included USMS North Star, a 1434-ton wooden ice ship built for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, at the time the only other U.S. ice-strengthened ship available.

Photographed circa 1939, possibly during Byrd's 1940 Antarctic Expedition. This ship also served as USS BEAR (AG-29) and as USCGC BEAR. Description: Catalog #: 80-G-1033748

Photographed circa 1939, possibly during Byrd’s 1940 Antarctic Expedition. This ship also served as USS BEAR (AG-29) and as USCGC BEAR. Description: Catalog #: 80-G-1033748

In early 1941, Bear returned to the Antarctic for her third and last trip, this time to evacuate the Americans from the continent with the looming war.

USS BEAR (AG-29) Awaiting to evacuate west base in the Bay of Whales, Antarctica in 1941, she noses against bay ice. Supplies had to be carried from the base camp in the background. Ross Barrier is the thick ice on the left. Description: Catalog #: NH 56697 Copyright Owner: Naval History and Heritage Command

USS BEAR (AG-29) Awaiting to evacuate west base in the Bay of Whales, Antarctica in 1941, she noses against bay ice. Supplies had to be carried from the base camp in the background. Ross Barrier is the thick ice on the left. Description: Catalog #: NH 56697 Copyright Owner: Naval History and Heritage Command

Returning to Boston, her newly rejuvenated sail rig was scrapped. Her spars and yard removed, only the stumps of her masts remained. Equipped with a Grumman J2F-1 seaplane and armed with some AAA mounts (seen under tarps below).

She was a warship again.

bear wwii note crew clearing ice and tarped guns Bear-Misc-Photos_page36_image29 Bear-Misc-Photos_page36_image30In May 1941, the Northeast Greenland Patrol was organized with Bear, her ice-strengthened Coast Guard replacement Northland, and her old sailing companion the former Interior Department ship North Star, with Captain Edward H. “Iceberg” Smith, USCG, in overall command of the force.

USS BEAR (AG-29) Off the Boston Navy Yard, 2 July 1941. Catalog #: 19-N-24311 Copyright Owner: National Archives. Note Grumman J2F-1 aircraft carried.

USS BEAR (AG-29) Off the Boston Navy Yard, 2 July 1941. Catalog #: 19-N-24311 Copyright Owner: National Archives. Note Grumman J2F-1 aircraft carried.

They soon struck pay dirt and Northland seized a three-man German weather station along with the Norwegian sealer D/S Buskø (159 gt) in September (three months before Pearl Harbor) and took her to MacKenzie Bay, on the Greenland coast, where Bear took up tow and “protective custody” of her prisoners for the trip down to Boston.

Buskø carried with a crew of 20 Norwegian quislings, a supposed German agent, and “one other dog,” who was working as a radio supply ship to keep German weather stations operating in the Far North operational. She was the first capture of a belligerent ship by U.S. Naval forces in World War II and arrived on 14 October to a big international news splash.

A few more trips around Greenland and Iceland were left for her, but by 1944, the writing was on the wall for the old warrior.

Decommissioned, 17 May 1944, Bear was transferred to the Maritime Commission for disposal, 13 February 1948.

Sold by the Maritime Commission for commercial service in 1948, she was renamed Arctic Sealer and was to be used as a sealer home ported at Halifax, Canada– her original purpose, but this largely fell by the wayside and she did not return to her old stomping grounds after all.

After moldering away in Halifax for almost 15 years, she was resold for conversion to a floating museum and restaurant at Philadelphia, PA, but she foundered under tow 90 miles south of Cape Sable, Nova Scotia on 19 March 1963.

SINKING OF THE BEAR photo dated 19 March 1963; Photo No. 1CGD-03-19-63(03); photographer unknown. USCG Historians Office

Note that her rigging and masts have been partially restored

Her wreck site is unknown, despite the best efforts of a 1979 search conducted by cadets from the Coast Guard Academy.

The old ship remains alive in the work of maritime artists.

The famous old Coast Guard cutter BEAR. From the Collection of President Franklin D. Roosevelt Catalog #: NH 1918 Copyright Owner: Naval History and Heritage Command Original Creator: Charles Robert Patterson, artist

The famous old Coast Guard cutter BEAR. From the Collection of President Franklin D. Roosevelt Catalog #: NH 1918 Copyright Owner: Naval History and Heritage Command Original Creator: Charles Robert Patterson, artist

USCGC BEAR, 1884-1948. Description: Copied from U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, April 1945 Catalog #: NH 56695 Copyright Owner: Naval History and Heritage Command Original Creator: Hunter Wood, USCG, artist

USCGC BEAR, 1884-1948. Description: Copied from U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, April 1945 Catalog #: NH 56695 Copyright Owner: Naval History and Heritage Command Original Creator: Hunter Wood, USCG, artist

BearPainting

Her bell is at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling and is kept in tip-top shape while her binnacle has been retained at the USCGA.

uscgc bear bell

The polar bear figurehead from Bear is in the collection at the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia. Following his celebrated 1940 expedition, Admiral Byrd presented the figurehead to the facility.

bearfigurehead

The Coast Guard maintains an extensive 40-page online scrapbook of the old Bear as well as an extensive website.

Since 1980, her name has been perpetuated by the class-leader of the Famous-class 270-foot medium endurance cutters, USCGC Bear (WMEC 901) based at Portsmouth, VA.

Coast Guard Cutter Bear transits past the Statue of Liberty in New York City June 19, 2016. The Bear is a 270-feet medium endurance cutter

Coast Guard Cutter Bear transits past the Statue of Liberty in New York City June 19, 2016. The Bear is a 270-feet medium endurance cutter

As for “Roaring Mike” Healy, the Coast Guard named their newest icebreaker (WAGB-20) for him in 1997, shown below, while reindeer-herding lieutenants Berthoff and Jarvis each had a cutter named after them in modern times.

Coast Guard Cutter Healy supports Geotraces mission to the Arctic

Specs:

USRC Bear Color USRC Bear 2
Length: 198′ 4″
Beam: 30′
Draft: 17′ 11″
Displacement: 703 tons
Launched: 1874
Machinery: Compound-expansion steam, 25-5/8″ and 50″ diameter x 30″ stroke, 101 nominal hp (1885)
Diesel engine/sail rig (1935) Diesel only after 1939.
Speed: 14kts max on sail, 6 on steam, 8 on diesel
Complement: 51 (1884) 39 (1939)
Armament: 3 x 6-pound rapid-fire guns (1885) disarmed 1935. Equipped with small arms and light machine guns 1940.

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