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USCGC Chincoteague (WAVP-375)
USCGC Chincoteague (WAVP-375)
USCGC Chincoteague (WAVP-375, WHEC-375), 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 Chincoteague
Namesake: Chincoteague Bay in Maryland and Virginia
Builder: Lake Washington Shipyard, Houghton, Washington
Laid down: 23 July 1941
Launched: 15 April 1942
Completed: April 1943
Acquired: Loaned by U.S. Navy to U.S. Coast Guard 7 March 1949
Transferred permanently to Coast Guard 26 September 1966
Commissioned: 7 March 1949
Decommissioned: 21 June 1972
Reclassified: High endurance cutter, WHEC-375, 1 May 1966
Fate: Transferred to U.S. Navy 21 June 1972
Transferred to South Vietnam 21 June 1972
Taken over by Republic of the Philippines April 1975
Sold to Philippines 5 April 1976
Decommissioned by Philippines June 1985
Notes: Served as United States Navy seaplane tender USS Chincoteague (AVP-24) 1943-1946
Served as South Vietnamese patrol vessel RVNS Ly Thuong Kiet (HQ-16)[1] 1972-1975
Served as Philippine Navy patrol vessel BRP Andres Bonifacio (PF-7) 1976-1985; sold for scrapping 2003
General characteristics
Class & type: Casco-class cutter
Displacement: 2,497 tons (full load) in 1965
Length: 310 ft 9.5 in (94.729 m) overall; 300 ft 0 in (91.44 m) between perpendiculars
Beam: 41 ft 0 in (12.50 m) maximum
Draft: 12 ft 5 in (3.78 m) (full load) in 1965
Installed power: 6,400 bhp (4,800 kW)
Propulsion: Fairbanks-Morse direct-reversing diesel engines, two shafts; 166,430 US gallons (630,000 L) of fuel
Speed: 17.0 knots (31.5 km/h) (maximum sustained in 1965)
11.5 knots (21.3 km/h) (economic in 1965)
Range: 10,000 nautical miles (19,000 km) at 17.0 knots (31.5 km/h) in 1965
15,000 nautical miles (28,000 km) at 11.5 knots (21.3 km/h) in 1965
Complement: 149 (10 officers, 3 warrant officers, 136 enlisted personnel)
Sensors and
processing systems:
Radars in 1965 (one each): AN-SPS-23, AN-SPS-29D
Sonar in 1965: AN-SQS-1
Armament: In 1965: one single 5-inch (127 mm) 38-caliber Mark 12 Mod 1, 1 x Mark 52 Mod 3 director, 1 x Mark 26 fire-control radar, 1 x Mark 11 antisubmarine projector, 2 x Mark 32 Mod 2 torpedo tubes

USCGC Chincoteague (WAVP-375), later WHEC-375, was a Casco-class United States Coast Guard Cutter in service from 1949 to 1972.

Construction and U.S. Navy serviceEdit

Chincoteague began life as the United States Navy Barnegat-class seaplane tender USS Chincoteague (AVP-24). She was laid down on 23 July 1941 by Lake Washington Shipyard at Houghton, Washington,and was launched on 15 April 1942. She commissioned into the U.S. Navy on 12 April 1943. She operated in support of the New Guinea campaign and in the Central Pacific during World War II, including support of the Iwo Jima campaign, and operated at Okinawa and in China after the war. She was decommissioned on 21 December 1946.

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 Navy loaned Chincoteague to the United States Coast Guard on March 1949. The Coast Guard commissioned her as USCGC Chincoteague (WAVP-375) the same day.

U.S. Coast Guard serviceEdit

Chincoteague was homeported in Norfolk, Virginia, throughout her Coast Guard career. Her primary duty was to serve on weather stations in the Atlantic Ocean 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.

In December 1955, Chincoteague took the disabled merchant ship Canadian Observer under tow to keep her from going aground off the south coast of Newfoundland in Canada.

On 30 October 1956, Chincoteague rescued 33 crewmen from the West German merchant ship Helga Bolten in the North Atlantic by using two inflatable lifeboats during heavy seas. She then stood by distressed vessels for seven days until they could be towed to the Azores by commercial tug.

On 1 May 1966, Chincoteague was reclassified as a high endurance cutter and redesignated WHEC-375. On 26 September 1966 her long-term long from the Navy to the Coast Guard came to an end when the Navy transferred her outright to the Coast Guard.

Chincoteague took the disabled merchant ship Kenyon Victory under tow 30 nautical miles (56 km) south of San Salvador Island in the Bahamas on 5 October 1969 until relieved of the tow by a commercial tug.

Decommissioning and transfer to South VietnamEdit

In April 1972, Chincoteague and two of her sister ships, Coast Guard cutters USCGC Absecon (WHEC-374) and USCGC McCulloch (WHEC-386), were deployed as Coast Guard Squadron Two, with crews composed mainly of members of the United States Coast Guard Reserve. They were originally scheduled to sail to Subic Bay in the Philippine Islands, but were diverted to the U.S. Navy base at Apra Harbor, Guam. Eventually the three cutters were decommissioned, transferred to the U.S. Navy, and then transferred to South Vietnam. For Chincoteague, all three of these events occurred on 21 June 1972.

Foreign serviceEdit

Republic of Vietnam Navy serviceEdit

South Vietnam commissioned the ship into the South Vietnamese Navy as patrol vessel RVNS Ly Thuong Kiet (HQ-16).[2] When the South Vietnamese government collapsed at the end of the Vietnam War in April 1975, Ly Thuong Kiet fled to the Philippines. On 22 May 1975 and 23 May 1975, a U.S. Coast Guard team inspected Ly Thuong Kiet and several other former Casco-class cutters which had been transferred to South Vietnam in 1971 and 1972 and, like Ly Thuong Kiet, fled to the Philippines in April 1975. One of the inspectors noted: "These vessels brought in several hundred refugees and are generally rat-infested. They are in a filthy, deplorable condition. Below decks generally would compare with a garbage scow."[3]

Philippine Navy serviceEdit

After Ly Thuong Kiet was cleaned, repaired, and made ready to return to service, the U.S. Navy transferred her on 6 April 1976 to the Republic of the Philippines, which commissioned her into the Philippine Navy as patrol vessel BRP Andres Bonifacio (PF-7). The Philippine Navy decommissioned her in June 1985.[4]

NotesEdit

  1. The name Ly Thuuong Kiet and pennant number HQ-16 are confirmed by Jane's Fighting Ships 1973-1974, p. 592, and the United States Coast Guard Historian's Office at http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Chincoteague1949.asp. NavSource.org's claim that the ship was RVNS Trans Binh Trong (HQ-05) (see http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/43/4324.htm) appears to be in error, and to confuse Chincoteague with USCGC Castle Rock (WAVP-383), which all three sources agree was the ship that became Tran Binh Trong.
  2. The name Ly Thuong Kiet and pennant number HQ-16 are confirmed by Jane's Fighting Ships 1973-1974, p. 592, and the United States Coast Guard Historian's Office at http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Chincoteague1949.asp. NavSource.org's claim that the ship was RVNS Trans Binh Trong (HQ-05) (see http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/43/4324.htm) appears to be in error, and to confuse Chincoteague with USCGC Castle Rock (WAVP-383), which all three sources agree was the ship that became Tran Binh Trong.
  3. This quote, from the U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office at http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/McCulloch_1946.pdf, is unattributed.
  4. Per NavSource.org at http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/43/4324.htm; the Office of the Coast Guard Historian at http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Chincoteague1949.asp claims Andres Bonifacio was still active in July 1993.

ReferencesEdit

See alsoEdit

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