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USCGC Mellon (WHEC-717)
USCGC Mellon (WHEC-717) shown with Harpoon missile aft of 76mm gun.
USCGC Mellon (WHEC-717) shown with Harpoon missile launcher aft of the 76mm gun.
Builder: Avondale Shipyards
Laid down: July 25, 1966
Launched: February 11, 1967
Commissioned: January 9, 1968
Homeport: Seattle, Washington
Fate: Active
General characteristics
Displacement: 3,250 tons
Length: 378 ft (115 m)
Beam: 43 ft (13 m)
Draught: 15 ft (4.6 m)
Propulsion: Two diesel engines and
Two gas turbine engines
Speed: 29 knots (54 km/h)
Range: 14,000 nmi (25,900 km)
Endurance: 45 days
Complement: 167 personnel
Sensors and
processing systems:
AN/SPS-40 air-search radar
Armament: Otobreda 76 mm,
Phalanx CIWS

USCGC Mellon (WHEC-717) is a U. S. Coast Guard high endurance cutter based out of Seattle, Washington. Laid down July 25, 1966 at Avondale Shipyards near New Orleans, Louisiana. Named for Andrew W. Mellon the 49th Secretary of the Treasury from 1921-1932 and launched February 11, 1967 by Mrs. John W. Warner, Jr., sponsor and granddaughter of Andrew Mellon. Mellon was commissioned January 9, 1968. She received her Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) upgrades from 1985 to 1989. Mellon was the first and only USCG cutter to be fitted with the Harpoon missile, test firings were also conducted in January 1990. She also received an anti-submarine warfare suite including the AN/SQS-26 sonar and Mark 46 torpedoes. The ASW suite and Harpoon capability were removed due to fiscal constraints, but served as a proof of capability for all USCG cutters.[1]

Notable Operational Activities[]

In March 1970, the Mellon was involved in pursuit of mutineers involved in the SS Columbia Eagle incident during the Vietnam War.

In February 1974, the Mellon played a major role rescuing the crew of the Italian supertanker Giovanna Lolli-Ghetti. They survived an explosion, fire and then sinking of the tanker. At midnight Mellon was advised of a distress call from 230 miles south-east of Hawaii. At roughly 1115 the next morning Mellon reached the area where the vessel Tamerlane (Norway) was rescuing survivors from the now deserted tanker. The survivors transferred to the Mellon for medical treatment, warm food and clean clothes. The nearby Novikov Priboya from Russia arrived to give additional medical aid. 7 of the crew were not recovered. The rest were taken back to Honolulu on the Mellon.[2]

In October 1980 the Mellon assisted in the rescue of over 400 passengers and crew of the SS Prinsendam, a luxury liner in distress in the Gulf Of Alaska. After the rescue operations were completed, the Mellon remained on scene in a futile attempt to fight the fire, that had originated in the Prinsendam engine room and progressed throughout the ship. While the Prinsendam was under tow by salvage tugs, and escorted by the Mellon the burning ship suddenly listed hard over to Port and sank within a few minutes. [2}

Appearance in Movies[]

In the 1980 Disney film The Last Flight of Noah's Ark, the Mellon found and rescue the crew of a lifeboat that had been converted into an airplane.


  1. Mellon History United States Coast Guard, p. 1, June 21, 2008,
  2. Mellon History United States Coast Guard, p. 3, June 6, 2008, Retrieved November 12, 2010

External links[]

Mellon underway in the Bering Sea, 2001

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