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USCGC Sagebrush (WLB-399)
USCGC Sagebrush (WLB-399)
Career (USA) Ensign of the United States Coast Guard.svg
Name: USCGC Sagebrush (WLB-399)
Builder: Zenith Dredge Corporation, Duluth, Minnesota
Cost: $925,134
Yard number: CG-170
Laid down: 15 July 1943
Launched: 30 September 1943
Commissioned: 1 April 1944
Decommissioned: 26 April 1988
Honors and
4 × USCG Unit Commendations (1982, 1984(2), 1985)
Coast Guard Academy Alumni Foundation Award (1985)
Fate: Scuttled, 28 April 1988
General characteristics (1945)[1]
Class & type: "C" (or Iris) class USCG seagoing buoy tender
Displacement: 935 long tons (950 t)
Length: 180 ft (55 m) o/a
Beam: 37 ft (11 m)
Draft: 12 ft (3.7 m)
  • Diesel-electric
  • 2 × Cooper-Bessemer-type GND-8 4-cycle diesel engines
  • 2 × Westinghouse generators
  • 1 × Electric motor
  • Single screw
Speed: 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph)
Complement: 80 (6 officers, 74 men)
Sensors and
processing systems:
SL1 radar
QBE-3A sonar

USCGC Sagebrush (WLB-399) was a 180-foot (55 m) USCG seagoing buoy tender. An Iris class vessel, she was built by Zenith Dredge Corporation. On 15 July 1943 the keel was laid; she was launched on 30 September 1943 and commissioned on 1 April 1944. She was decommissioned on 26 April 1988 and scuttled on 28 April 1988.[1]

Ship historyEdit

Sagebrush was built by the Zenith Dredge Corporation of Duluth, Minnesota during World War II. The original cost for the hull and machinery was $925,134. From March to April 1944 she acted as an icebreaker on the Great Lakes. She spent the rest of her service life home-ported in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from which she maintained floating and fixed aids-to-navigation (AtoN) in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and surrounding waters.[1]

In addition to her main duties, she performed law enforcement, Search-and-Rescue (SAR), drug and illegal alien interdiction patrols, and provided logistical services in her area of operations. She also made occasional "show the flag" visits to various independent and colonial islands around the Leeward Islands to foster international familiarity and cooperation in the region.

She participated in the unsuccessful search for the body of Roberto Clemente after the aircraft on which he was flying crashed into the sea north of Puerto Rico. In 1974, her crew, under then Captain, LCDR. Lindon Onstad, also conducted the successful rescue of four persons from an overturned cabin cruiser in the surf on the rocky north coast just west of the entrance to San Juan Harbor. Several members of the crew received personal commendations for that action.[1]

The ship underwent a three-month Service Life Extension & Rehabilitation yard maintenance program at the United States Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, Maryland, in the spring of 1973. She then returned to San Juan and worked out her service career there. She was run aground in the Mona Passage, a narrow strait of water with numerous corral outcroppings located between Puerto Rico and Haiti sometime between 1975 and 1979.[citation needed] In April 1988, she was decommissioned, then salvaged by a group who intended to use her as part of a man-made reef off the Georgia coast between St. Simons Island and Savannah. She was scuttled off of St. Catherines Island, Georgia on 28 April 1988.

The helm from Sagebrush is on display in the National Aids to Navigation Museum in Canfield Hall at the Coast Guard's Training Center Yorktown.[2]

Sagebrush bridge

Bridge of the USCGC Sagebrush, 1984.

Sagebrush in Panama Canal

The USCGC Sagebrush in the Panama Canal, 1984.

Sagebrush aft view

View from the aft of the USCGC Sagebrush in the Panama Canal, 1984.

Sagebrush with Sleeping Marines

Sleeping U.S. Marines aboard the USCGC Sagebrush in the Panama Canal, 1984.


External linksEdit

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