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USCGC Mackinac (WAVP-371)
USCGC Absecon (WAVP-371)
USCGC Mackinac (WAVP-371) ca. 1960
Career (United States)
Name: USCGC Mackinac
Namesake: Mackinac Island, Michigan (previous name retained)
Builder: Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, Washington
Laid down: 29 May 1940
Launched: 15 November 1941
Completed: January 1942
Acquired: Loaned by U.S. Navy to U.S. Coast Guard 19 April 1949
Accepted by Coast Guard 21 April 1949
Commissioned: 11 May 1949
Decommissioned: 28 December 1967
Reclassified: High endurance cutter, WHEC-371, 1 May 1966
Struck: From Naval Vessel Register 21 July 1968
Honors and
Eastern Area Vessel Performance Award for Fiscal Year 1967
Fate: Returned to U.S. Navy 21 July 1968
Sunk as target 23 July 1968
Notes: Served as United States Navy seaplane tender USS Mackinac (AVP-13) 1942-1947
General characteristics
Class & type: Casco-class cutter
Displacement: 2,515.2 long tons (2,555.6 t) (full load) in 1965
Length: 311 ft 7 in (94.97 m) overall; 300 ft 0 in (91.44 m) between perpendiculars
Beam: 41 ft 0 in (12.50 m) maximum
Draft: 12 ft 8 in (3.86 m) maximum in 1965
Installed power: 6,000 bhp (4,500 kW) in 1965
Propulsion: Fairbanks-Morse direct reversing diesel engines, two shafts; 166,525 US gallons (630,370 L) of fuel
Speed: 18.0 knots (33.3 km/h) (maximum sustained in 1965)
12.0 knots (22.2 km/h) (economic) in 1965
Range: 9,900 nautical miles (18,300 km) at 18.0 knots (33.3 km/h) in 1965
19,980 nautical miles (37,000 km) at 12.0 knots (22.2 km/h) in 1965
Complement: 149 (10 officers, 2 warrant officers, 137 enlisted personnel) in 1965
Sensors and
processing systems:
Radars in 1965: SPS-23, SPS-29B
Sonar in 1965: SQS-1
Armament: In 1965:
one single 5-inch (127 mm) 38-caliber Mark 12 Mod 1 gun, 1 x Mark 52 Mod 3 director, 1 x Mark 26 Mod 3 fire-control radar, 2 x .50-caliber (12.7 mm) machine guns
4 x Mark 6 Mod 2 depth charge projectors
1 x Mark 10 Mod 1 antisubmarine projector

USCGC Mackinac (WAVP-371), later WHEC-371, was a Casco-class United States Coast Guard Cutter in service from 1949 to 1967. She was the second ship of the United States Revenue Cutter Service or United States Coast Guard to bear the name.

Construction and U.S. Navy service[edit | edit source]

Mackinac began life as the United States Navy Barnegat-class seaplane tender USS Mackinac (AVP-13). She was laid down on 29 May 1940 at the Puget Sound Navy Yard at Bremerton, Washington, launched on 15 November 1941, and commissioned into the U.S. Navy on 24 January 1942. She operated in the Pacific during World War II, seeing action in the Solomon Islands, in the Marshall Islands, in the Palau Islands, and at Okinawa . She was decommissioned in January 1947 and placed in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Orange, Texas.

Transferred to the United States Coast Guard[edit | edit source]

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 Mackinac to the Coast Guard on 19 April 1949, and the Coast Guard official accepted her at Orange on 21 April 1949. Coast Guard Cutter USCGC Tampa (WPG-164) then towed her from Orange to the Coast Guard Yard at Curtis Bay at Baltimore, Maryland, where she underwent conversion for use as a weather-reporting ship. While this was in progress, the Coast Guard commissioned her as USCGC Mackinac (WAVP-371) on 11 May 1949 with Commander William L. Maloney, USCG, in command. Her conversion was completed on 18 July 1949.

U.S. Coast Guard service[edit | edit source]

Mackinac was stationed at New York, New York, throughout her Coast Guard career. Her primary duty was to serve on ocean stations in the Atlantic Ocean to gather meteorological data. In addition, she conducted search-and-rescue and law enforcement operations and provided navigational and communication assistance to aircraft.

She was among a number of cutters based on the United States East Coast that rotated among four ocean stations in the Atlantic Ocean. While on duty in one of these stations, she was required to patrol a 210-square-statute-mile (544 km²; 159 nmi²) 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.

Mackinac's first base at New York City was at Brooklyn, New York. She shifted her base to St. George, Staten Island, New York, on 17 September 1953.

On 13 November 1953, she came to the assistance of the merchant ship Empire Nene at latitude 41°53’ North, longitude 43°47’ West.

On 1 May 1966, Mackinac was reclassified as a high endurance cutter and redesignated WHEC-371. She won the Eastern Area Vessel Performance Award for Fiscal Year 1967.

Decommissioning and disposal[edit | edit source]

Mackinac was decommissioned on 28 December 1967 and placed in storage at the Coast Guard Yard at Curtis Bay. On 21 July 1968 the Coast Guard returned her to the Navy, and she was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register that day.

The Navy sank Mackinac as a target off the coast of Virginia on 23 July 1968, using her for target practice by United States Naval Academy midshipmen. Mackinac sank in 1,800 fathoms (10,800 feet or 3,300 meters of water) at position 36°22’ North, 73°09’ West. Although under fire from four ships—heavy cruiser USS Newport News (CA-148), guided missile light cruiser USS Springfield (CLG-7), guided missile frigate USS King (DLG-10), and destroyer USS New (DD-818)—and despite King's first Terrier missile scoring a direct hit, Mackinac proved hard to sink, and her hull remained largely intact as she slipped beneath the waves.

References[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

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