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USCGC Barataria (WAVP-381)
USCGC Barataria (WAVP-381)
USCGC Barataria (WAVP-381), later WHEC-381, sometime between 1949 and the Coast Guard's 1967 adoption of the "racing stripe" markings on its ships..
Career (United States) Ensign of the United States Coast Guard.svg
Name: USCGC Barataria
Namesake: Barataria Bay, or "Barrataria Bay", in Louisiana
Builder: Lake Washington Shipyard, Houghton, Washington
Laid down: 19 April 1943
Launched: 2 October 1943
Completed: August 1944
Acquired: Loaned by United States Navy to U.S. Coast Guard 17 September 1948
Transferred permanently from U.S. Navy to U.S. Coast Guard 26 September 1966
Commissioned: 10 January 1949
Decommissioned: 29 August 1969
Reclassified: High endurance cutter, WHEC-381, 1 May 1966
Struck: 26 September 1966 (from Navy List)
Honors and
Commander Eastern Area Gunnery Excellence Award 1963
Military Readiness Award 1965
Fate: Sold for scrapping October 1970
Notes: Served as United States Navy seaplane tender USS Barataria (AVP-33) 1944-1946
General characteristics
Class & type: Casco-class cutter
Displacement: In 1966: 1,786 tons light; 2,522.4 tons (full load)
Length: 310 ft 9 in (94.72 m) overall; 300 ft 0 in (91.44 m) between perpendiculars
Beam: 41 ft 2.375 in (12.55713 m) maximum
Draft: 13 ft 1 in (3.99 m) maximum in 1964
Installed power: 6,000 bhp (4,500 kW)
Propulsion: Fairbanks-Morse direct-reversing diesel engines, two shafts; 166,430 US gallons (630,000 L) of fuel
Speed: 17.35 knots (32.13 km/h) (maximum at full load) in 1966
11.9 knots (22.0 km/h) (economic) in 1966
Range: 9,946 nautical miles (18,420 km) at 17.35 knots (32.13 km/h) in 1966
20,500 nautical miles (38,000 km) at 11.0 knots (20.4 km/h) in 1966
Complement: In 1966: 151 (10 officers, 3 warrant officers, 138 enlisted personnel)
Sensors and
processing systems:
Radars in 1966 (one each): SPS-23, SPS-29A
Sonar in 1966: SQS-1
Armament: In 1966: one single 5-inch (127 mm) 38-caliber Mark 30 Mod 65, 1 x Mark 52-2 Mod 3 director, 1 x Mark 26-3 fire-control radar
2 x .50-caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns
1 x Mark 32 Mod 5 antisubmarine projector, 6 x Mark 10-8 torpedo tubes, Mark 44 torpedoes

USCGC Barataria (WAVP-381), later WHEC-381, was a Casco-class United States Coast Guard cutter in service from 1949 to 1969.

Construction and U.S. Navy serviceEdit

Barataria began life as the United States Navy Barnegat-class seaplane tender USS Barataria (AVP-33). She was laid down on 19 April 1943 by Lake Washington Shipyard at Houghton, Washington, launched on 2 October 1943, and commissioned into the U.S. Navy on 13 August 1944. She operated in the Central Pacific and the Philippines during World War II, and at Okinawa, in China, and in Korea after the war ended. She was decommissioned on 24 July 1946 and placed in reserve at Naval Air Station Alameda in Alameda, California.

Transferred to the United States Coast GuardEdit

Barnegat-class ships were very reliable and seaworthy and had good habitability, and the Coast Guard viewed them as ideal for ocean station duty, in which they would perform weather reporting and search and rescue tasks, once they were modified by having a balloon shelter added aft and having oceanographic equipment, an oceanographic winch, and a hydrographic winch installed.

The U.S. Navy loaned Barataria to the Coast Guard on 17 September 1948. After undergoing conversion for use as a weather-reporting ship, she was commissioned into the Coast Guard service as USCGC Barataria (WAVP-381) on 10 January 1949.

North Atlantic service 1949-1967Edit

Barataria was stationed at Portland, Maine, on 1 August 1949, and it would remain her home port until January 1968. Her primary duty was to serve on ocean stations to gather meteorological data. While on duty in one of these stations, she was required to patrol a 210-square-mile (544-square-kilometer) area for three weeks at a time, leaving the area only when physically relieved by another Coast Guard cutter or in the case of a dire emergency. While on station, she acted as an aircraft check point at the point of no return, a relay point for messages from ships and aircraft, as a source of the latest weather information for passing aircraft, as a floating oceanographic laboratory, and as a search-and-rescue ship for downed aircraft and vessels in distress, and engaged in law enforcement operations.

Barataria patrolled the America's Cup Race at Newport, Rhode Island, in September 1962.

When the Cuban Missile Crisis developed in October, 1962, Barataria was conducting an ocean station patrol on Ocean Station Echo in the shipping lanes east of Cuba. Barataria made contact with a Soviet freighter transporting a cargo of ballistic missiles and was ordered to shadow the freighter and await the arrival of a U.S. Navy warship which would conduct a boarding of the Soviet ship. Barataria remained at battle stations, Condition 2, and repeatedly attempted to establish communications with the Soviet ship. All attempts failed. A U.S. Navy destroyer based at Norfolk, Virginia, arrived and the Navy crew boarded the Soviet vessel.

Barataria won the Commander Eastern Area Gunnery Excellence Award in 1963 and the Military Readiness Award in 1965. On 1 May 1966 she was reclassified as a high endurance cutter and redesignated WHEC-381. On 26 September 1966 her period on loan to the Coast Guard ended when she was stricken from the Navy List and transferred permanently to the Coast Guard.

Vietnam War service 1967-1968Edit

On 1 April 1967, Barataria departed Portland, Maine, and moved to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. There she joined four other Coast Guard cutters -- USCGC Gresham (WHEC-387), USCGC Yakutat (WHEC-380), USCGC Bering Strait (WHEC-382), and USCGC Half Moon (WHEC-378)—in forming Coast Guard Squadron Three. All five cutters were former Barnegat-class ships. Gresham became flagship of the squadron, which was designated Task Unit 70.8.6. Captain John E. Day, commander of the squadron, hoisted his pennant aboard Gresham upon activation of the squadron at Pearl Harbor on 24 April 1967.

Coast Guard Squadron Three was tasked to operate in conjunction with U.S. Navy forces in Operation Market Time, the interdiction of communist coastal arms and munitions traffic along the coastline of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The squadron's other Vietnam War duties included naval gun fire support for ground forces, resupplying Coast Guard and Navy patrol boats, and search-and-rescue operations. The cutters departed Pearl Harbor on 26 April 1967 and reported to Commander, United States Seventh Fleet, for Market Time duty on 4 May 1967. They were joined by Navy radar picket destroyer escorts (DERs) of Escort Squadrons 5 and 7.

USCGC Barataria (WHEC-381)

USCGC Barataria (WHEC-381, ex-WAVP-381), entering San Francisco Bay in January 1968 as she returns from her Vietnam War service.

The ten Market Time ships arrived at Subic Bay in the Philippines on 10 May 1967. The five Coast Guard cutters and five Navy destroyer escorts continuously manned four Market Time stations off Vietnam, while only Navy warships served on two Taiwan patrol stations. One ship rotated duty as the station ship in Hong Kong.

During her Vietnam War tour, Barataria was underway 83 percent of the time and cruised over 67,000 nautical miles (124,000 km) without a major mechanical or electrical failure. Keeping a close watch on all moving craft in her surveillance area, Barataria detected, inspected, or boarded nearly 1,000 steel-hulled vessels traversing her area, any one of which could have been a trawler trying to sneak supplies to the enemy.

Barataria was called upon many times to use her main battery against enemy troops ashore who were engaged with allied forces; United States Army spotter planes reported all of Barataria's rounds on target, never once falling out of the target area. On one gunfire support mission, Barataria scored three direct hits on point targets which had been spotted by aircraft.

Pacific service 1968-1969Edit

Barataria returned to the United States on 12 January 1968 and was reassigned to San Francisco, California, which was her home port for the remainder of her Coast Guard career. She was used for law enforcement and search and rescue duties in the Pacific Ocean.

On 24 March 1968, Barataria sustained an engine-room explosion off Unimak Island in Alaska's Aleutian Islands.

From 21 May 1969 to 27 May 1969, Barataria rescued the crew of and stood by the Peruvian merchant ship Yavari 960 nautical miles (1,780 km) southwest of San Francisco. Yavari sank before a salvage tug could arrive.

Decommissioning and disposalEdit

Barataria was decommissioned on 29 August 1969. She was sold for scrapping in October 1970 to N.W. Kennedy Ltd. of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


See alsoEdit

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