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USCGC Cook Inlet (WAVP-384)
USCGC Cook Inlet (WHEC-384)
USCGC Cook Inlet (WAVP-384, later WHEC-384), sometime between 1949 and the Coast Guard's 1967 adoption of the "racing strip" markings on its ships.
Career (United States) Ensign of the United States Coast Guard.svg
Name: USCGC Cook Inlet
Namesake: Cook Inlet, in Alaska (previous name retained)
Builder: Lake Washington Shipyard, Houghton, Washington
Laid down: 23 August 1943
Launched: 13 May 1944
Completed: November 1944
Acquired: Loaned by United States Navy to Coast Guard 20 September 1948
Transferred permanently from Navy to Coast Guard 26 September 1966
Commissioned: 15 January 1949
Decommissioned: 21 December 1971[1]
Reclassified: High endurance cutter, WHEC-382, 1 May 1966
Honors and
awards:
Two campaign stars for Vietnam War service
Fate: Transferred to South Vietnam 21 December 1971
Taken over by the Republic of the Philippines April 1975
Transferred to Philippines April 1976
Discarded in 1982, probably sold for scrapping
Notes: Served as United States Navy seaplane tender USS Cook Inlet (AVP-36) 1944-1946
Served as South Vietnamese patrol vessel RVNS Tran Quoc Toan (HQ-06) 1971-1975
Cannibalized for spare parts by Philippine Navy without entering service
General characteristics
Class & type: Casco-class cutter
Displacement: 2,528.7 tons (full load) in 1966
Length: 309 ft 10.125 in (94.44038 m) overall; 298 ft 11.125 in (91.11298 m) between perpendiculars
Beam: 41 ft 0 in (12.50 m) maximum
Draft: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m) at full load in 1966
Installed power: 6,080 bhp (4,530 kW)
Propulsion: Fairbanks-Morse geared diesel engines, two shafts; 166,601 US gallons (630,650 L) of fuel
Speed: 19.4 knots (35.9 km/h) (maximum sustained in 1966)
10.5 knots (19.4 km/h) (economic in 1966)
Range: 12,500 nautical miles (23,200 km) at 19.4 knots (35.9 km/h) in 1966
20,800 nautical miles (38,500 km) at 10.5 knots (19.4 km/h) in 1966
Complement: 151 (10 officers, 3 warrant officers, 138 enlisted personnel) in 1966
Sensors and
processing systems:
Radars in 1966 (one each): SPS-23, SPS-29B, SPS-4B, SPS-52
Sonar in 1966: SQS-1
Armament: In 1966: 1 x single 5-inch (127 mm) 38-caliber Mark 12-1 gun mount; 1 x Mark 52 gunfire control system (GFCS) director; 1 x Mark 26 Mod 1 fire control radar; 1 x Mark 10 Mod 1 antisubmarine projector; 2 x Mark 32 Mod 5 torpedo launchers

USCGC Cook Inlet (WAVP-384), later WHEC-384, was a Casco-class United States Coast Guard cutter in service from 1949 to 1971.

Construction and U.S. Navy serviceEdit

Cook Inlet began life as the United States Navy Barnegat-class seaplane tender USS Cook Inlet (AVP-36). She was laid down on 23 August 1943 by Lake Washington Shipyard at Houghton, Washington, launched on 13 May 1944, and commissioned into the U.S. Navy on 5 November 1944. She served in the Central Pacific during World War II, including in the Iwo Jima campaign, and on occupation duty in Japan and Korea postwar. She was decommissioned on 31 March 1946 and placed in reserve at 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 Navy loaned Cook Inlet to the United States Coast Guard on 20 September 1948. After undergoing conversion for Coast Guard use, she was commissioned into the Coast Guard on 15 January 1949 as USCGC Cook Inlet (WAVP-384).

U.S. Coast Guard serviceEdit

Atlantic operations 1949-1971Edit

Cook Inlet's home port was Portland, Maine, throughout her entire Coast Guard career. She served in the Atlantic Ocean, where 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.

On 12 October 1953, Cook Inlet rendezvoused with Coast Guard cutter USCGC Chambers (WDE-491) in the Atlantic to take a medical patient from Chambers which Chambers had evacuated the previous day from the merchant ship Neva West. She then transported that patient to medical facilities ashore.

Cook Inlet took part in the United States Coast Guard Academy cadet cruise of August 1965.

On 28 January 1966, Cook Inlet rescued survivors in of a swamped pleasure craft. Between 3 February 1966 and 8 February 1966, she escorted the distressed Liberian merchant vessel Arion to Bermuda. On 8 April 1966, she assisted the burning Norwegian passenger-freighter Viking Princess, sending a fire and rescue party aboard Viking Princess to fight her fires; rushing from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in a three-hour voyage, the U.S. Navy frigate USS Wilkinson (DL-5) also assisted Viking Princess, taking 13 survivors of the ship aboard from the Republic of China merchant ship Chungking Victory and transporting them to Guantanamo Bay.

Cook Inlet was reclassified as a high endurance cutter and redesignated WHEC-384 on 1 May 1966. Her loan period from the Navy came to an end on 26 September 1966, when she was transferred permanently from the Navy to the Coast Guard.

On 8 January 1968, Cook Inlet evacuated a crewman in medical distress from the Swedish merchant ship California.

Vietnam War service 1971Edit

USCG Cook Inlet conducts fire support off the coast of Vietnam in 1971.

The USCG Cook Inlet conducts a close fire support mission off the coast of Vietnam in 1971.

Cook Inlet was assigned to Coast Guard Squadron Three in Vietnam on 2 July 1971. 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 fire support for ground forces, resupplying Coast Guard and Navy patrol boats, and search-and-rescue operations. Cook Inlet served in this capacity until 21 December 1971.

Cook Inlet earned two campaign stars for her Vietnam War service, for:

  • Consolidation I 16 July 1971 – 9 August 1971, 27 August 1971 – 15 September 1971, 1 October 1971 – 24 October 1971, and 22 November 1971 – 30 November 1971
  • Consolidation II 1 December 1971 – 15 December 1971

DecommissioningEdit

The Coast Guard decommissioned Cook Inlet in South Vietnam on 21 December 1971, the day her Vietnam War tour ended.

Foreign serviceEdit

South Vietnamese serviceEdit

Cook Inlet was transferred to South Vietnam on 21 December 1971 and commissioned into the Republic of Vietnam Navy as patrol vessel RVNS Tran Quoc Toan (HQ-06). When South Vietnam collapsed at the end of the Vietnam War in April 1975, Tran Quang Toan fled to Subic Bay in the Philippines.

On 22 May 1975 and 23 May 1975, a U.S. Coast Guard team inspected Tran Quang Toan and several other former Casco-class cutters which had been transferred to South Vietnam in 1971 and 1972 and, like Tran Quang Toan, 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."[2]

Acquisition for spare parts by the PhilippinesEdit

After Tran Quang Toan was cleaned, the U.S. Navy transferred her to the Republic of the Philippines in April 1976. Cannibalized for spare parts, she never entered Philippine Navy service. She was discarded in 1982 and probably scrapped.

NotesEdit

  1. Per the U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office (see http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/BeringStrait1948.asp), although NavSource.org (see http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/43/4334.htm) claims the Coast Guard decommissioned Cook Inlet on 27 December 1970.
  2. This quote, from the U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office at http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/McCulloch_1946.pdf, is unattributed.

ReferencesEdit

See alsoEdit

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