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USCGC Matagorda (WAVP-373)
USCGC Matagorda (WHEC-373)
USCGC Matagorda (WHEC-373, ex-WAVP-373) on 21 November 1966
Career (United States) Ensign of the United States Coast Guard.svg
Name: USCGC Matagorda
Namesake: Matagorda Bay, in Texas (previous name retained)
Builder: Boston Navy Yard, Boston, Massachusetts
Laid down: 6 September 1940
Launched: 18 March 1941
Completed: December 1941
Acquired: Loaned by United States Navy to U.S. Coast Guard 7 March 1949
Commissioned: 8 June 1949
Decommissioned: 15 October 1967
Reclassified: High endurance cutter, WHEC-373, 1 May 1966
Struck: From Naval Vessel Register 1 July 1968
Fate: Returned to U.S. Navy 30 October 1968
Sunk as target early 1969
Notes: Served as United States Navy seaplane tender USS Matagorda (AVP-22) 1941-1946
General characteristics
Class & type: Casco-class cutter
Displacement: 2,515.2 tons (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 5 in (3.78 m) maximum in 1967
Installed power: 6,000 bhp (4,500 kW) in 1967
Propulsion: Fairbanks-Morse direct reversing diesel engines, two shafts; 166,430 US gallons (630,000 L) of fuel
Speed: 17.1 knots (31.7 km/h) (maximum sustained in 1967)
13.0 knots (24.1 km/h) (economic) in 1967
Range: 9,725 nautical miles (18,011 km) at 17.1 knots (31.7 km/h) in 1967
16,600 nautical miles (30,700 km) at 13.0 knots (24.1 km/h) in 1967
Complement: 149 (10 officers, 3 warrant officers, 136 enlisted personnel) in 1967
Sensors and
processing systems:
Radars in 1967: SPS-23, SPS-29A
Sonar in 1967: SQS-1
Armament: In 1967:
one single 5-inch (127 mm) 38-caliber Mark 30-75 gun, 1 x Mark 52 Mod 3 director, 1 x Mark 26 fire-control radar
4 x Mark 6 Mod 2 depth charge projectors
1 x Mark 10 Mod 1 antisubmarine projector

USCGC Matagorda (WAVP-373), later WHEC-373, was a Casco-class United States Coast Guard Cutter in service from 1949 to 1967.

Construction and U.S. Navy serviceEdit

Matagorda began life as the United States Navy Barnegat-class seaplane tender USS Matagorda (AVP-22). She was laid down on 6 September 1940 at the Boston Navy Yard at Boston, Massachusetts, launched on 18 March 1941, and commissioned into the U.S. Navy on 16 December 1941. She operated in the Caribbean and Atlantic during World War II. In July 1945 she began conversion to a press information ship, designated AG-122, for use in the scheduled 1945-1946 invasion of Japan, but was converted back into a seaplane tender when the end of the war made the invasion unnecessary. She was decommissioned on 20 February 1946 and placed in the Atlantic Reserve Fleet at Orange, Texas.

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 Matagorda to the Coast Guard on 7 March 1949. The Coast Guard converted her into a weather-reporting ship and commissioned her as USCGC Matagorda (WAVP-373) on 8 June 1949.

Matagorda's primary duty during her Coast Guard service 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.

U.S. Coast Guard serviceEdit

Matagorda was stationed at Boston, Massachusetts, from her commissioning on 8 June 1949 until 1954. She was used for law enforcement, ocean station, and search and rescue operations in the Atlantic Ocean.

In 1954 she was transferred to Honolulu, Hawaii, and took up duties in the Pacific Ocean similar to those she had performed in the Atlantic.

On 26 January 1956, Matagorda delivered clothing from Washington Intermediate School in Honolulu to an orphanage in Japan.

In August 1960, Matagorda towed the disabled fishing vessel Wild Goose II.

On 12 January 1965, Matagorda stood by the disabled Liberian tanker Saint Helena 1,000 nautical miles (1,900 km) northwest of Midway Atoll; Saint Helena had sustained hull damage due to heavy seas and was in danger of breaking in two. Matagorda herself sustained damage; she was relieved by Coast Guard Cutter USCGC Bering Strait (WAVP-382) on 13 January 1965 and proceeded to Hawaii, via Midway, in heavy seas.

In mid-September 1965, Matagorda escorted the disabled Liberian merchant ship Londias to Honolulu.

On 27 February 1966, Matagorda transferred 12,000 US gallons (45,000 L) of water to the disabled merchant ship Union Success and took her under tow until relieved of towing duties.

Matagorda was reclassified as a high endurance cutter and redesignated WHEC-373 on 1 May 1966.

Decommissioning and disposalEdit

Matagorda was decommissioned at Honolulu on 15 October 1967. On 30 October 1968 she was returned to the Navy, which sank her as a target 72 nautical miles (133 km) off Hawaii in early 1969 in position 20°08’ North, 158°30’West.

ReferencesEdit

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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