USCGC Dallas (WHEC-716)

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USCGC Dallas (WHEC-716)
USCGC Dallas (WHEC-716)
Career
Builder: Avondale Shipyards
Commissioned: 11 March 1968
Decommissioned: 30 March 2012
Homeport: Charleston, South Carolina
Motto: Semper Nostra Optima
(Always Our Best)
Status: transferred to the Philippine Navy on 22 May 2012 as BRP Ramon Alcaraz
General characteristics
Displacement: 3,250 tons
Length: 378 ft (115 m)
Beam: 43 ft (13 m)
Draft: 15 ft (4.6 m)
Propulsion: Two diesel engines and two gas turbine engines
Speed: 29 knots (54 km/h)
Range: 14,000 mi (22,531 km)
Endurance: 45 days
Complement: 167 personnel
Sensors and
processing systems:
AN/SPS-40 air-search radar and MK 92 Fire Control System
Armament: One OTO Melara MK-75 76mm gun, replacing the 5" gun, Two MK-38 25mm Machine gun system, Two MK 36 SRBOC systems and M240 7.62mm machine guns.

The USCGC Dallas (WHEC-716) was a Coast Guard high endurance cutter commissioned in 1967 at the Avondale Shipyard in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was the sixth ship or boat to bear the name of Alexander J. Dallas, the Secretary of the Treasury under President James Madison (1814–1816). She is one of twelve Hamilton class cutters built for the Coast Guard.

The Dallas served in the Atlantic Ocean, venturing as far away as the Black Sea and Africa on occasion.

The Dallas was at first home ported at the former Coast Guard base on Governors Island, New York. She was relocated to her final homeport of Charleston, South Carolina in September 1996. She was decommissioned on 30 March 2012,[1][2] and was transferred to the Philippines on May 22, 2012 as an excess defense article through the Foreign Assistance Act.[3]

1960s and 1970s[edit]

In her earlier years, the Dallas collected meteorological and oceanographic data while on ocean station as part of the Gate Project, and she assisted commercial aircraft crossing the Atlantic Ocean.

During seven combat patrols off the coast of Vietnam, Dallas undertook 161 gunfire support missions involving 7,665 rounds of her 5-inch ammunition. This resulted in 58 sampans destroyed and 29 Viet Cong supply routes, bases, camps, or rest areas damaged or destroyed. Her 5-inch (127 mm) guns made her very valuable to the naval missions in the area.

Dallas served as a patrol vessel for the 1977 America's Cup Regatta out of Newport, Rhode Island. In September 1978, Dallas joined the search on Georges Bank for the Captain Cosmo, a fishing vessel out of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Dallas encountered seas during that search as high as the bridge wings, the decks of which are 38 feet from the waterline. Dallas also came upon the Queen Elizabeth 2 on that patrol, which reported taking a rogue wave over the bow that cracked windows on the bridge. The Captain Cosmo was lost with all hands in high seas.

In April 1979, as Dallas was wrapping up a patrol and heading into Bermuda for a weekend of R&R, she received orders to sail south to the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent. Its volcano, La Soufrière, was threatening to erupt and Dallas might be called upon to evacuate islanders. After several days of patrolling nearby, the volcano did send a large ash plum skyward, but an evacuation was not needed.

1980s[edit]

In 1980, the Dallas was the command ship for the historic Mariel Boatlift, during which 125,000 Cuban refugees set sail for the shores of Florida. At the time, it was the largest humanitarian operation ever undertaken by the Coast Guard. In 1983, the Dallas earned a Coast Guard Unit Commendation for achievements that included the seizure of seven vessels smuggling over 103,000 lb. of marijuana and the interdiction of 90 illegal Haitian migrants. In 1986, the Dallas served as the on-scene command for the search and rescue operation following the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. For her service during this operation, the Dallas received the Coast Guard’s Meritorious Unit Commendation.

In the late 1980s, the Dallas underwent a fleet rehabilitation and modernization (FRAM) program in the Portland, Maine, yards of the Bath Iron Works. During that period, her living quarters, electronics, sensors, and weapons systems were upgraded to allow continued service beyond the year 2000. The Dallas was recommissioned by the "cross-decked" crew from the Gallatin on December 20, 1989.

1990s and 2000s[edit]

During the Haitian migrant crisis of 1991-92, the Dallas performed as the flagship of a flotilla of twenty-seven Coast Guard cutters that rescued 35,000 migrants from hundreds of overcrowded, unseaworthy vessels. The Dallas received a Humanitarian Service Medal and another Coast Guard Unit Commendation for her efforts in establishing an operation task organization that serves as the model for today’s Coast Guard multi-unit operation.

In response to the renewed threats of a mass exodus from Haiti, Operation Able Manner began in January 1993, with large numbers of Coast Guard and U.S. Navy ships and aircraft deploying to the Caribbean. The Dallas assumed command of this flotilla on three separate patrols in 1993, earning her yet another Coast Guard Unit Commendation.

The Dallas spent the summer of 1994 representing the Coast Guard of France at the 50th D-Day invasion anniversary. During those festivities, the Dallas steamed with the reenactment fleet to commemorate the event.

Soon after the D-Day celebration, the Dallas was called upon to be the flagship for the Operation Able Vigil in response to another mass exodus from Cuba. Able Vigil was the largest Coast Guard commanded, but multi-service, operation since the 1940s.

During the summer of 1995, the Dallas operated with the U.S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea. Among her many assignments, Dallas worked with the USS Theodore Roosevelt Battle Group in support of Operation Deny Flight off the coast of Yugoslavia. The Dallas’s crew conducted nation-building training and professional exchange in various countries in the Mediterranean, the Adriatic Sea, and the Black Sea. The Dallas worked with the navies, coast guards, and maritime agencies of Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Tunisia, Slovenia, Albania, and Italy. This marked the first time that a U.S. Coast Guard cutter operated with the U.S. Sixth Fleet and also entered the Black Sea. Dallas earned the Armed Forces Service Medal for her contributions to Operations Deny Flight, Maritime Monitor, and Sharp Guard.

During 1997 and 1998, the Dallas served as the flagship for Operations Frontier Shield and Frontier Lance, the largest interagency, international counter-narcotic operations in the Caribbean to date.

In the summer of 1999, the Dallas was again assigned to the U.S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean and Black Seas to support allied forces during the conflict in Kosovo. While en route, the conflict ended, but the Dallas was ordered to remain in theater to conduct training and professional exchanges with US Naval units and foreign naval forces. The Dallas became the first Coast Guard cutter to enter the ports of Haifa, Israel, and Antalya, Turkey, and she conducted training exercises with the Ukrainian Navy, Turkish Coast Guard, Georgian Navy, and the armed forces of Malta.

During the entire 1990-2000 decade Dallas held the Commander of the Atlantic Area’s Operational Readiness Award for sustained excellence in all Coast Guard warfare mission areas.

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 on New York and Virginia, the Dallas was deployed as part of Operation Noble Eagle off the coast of the southeastern United States. Her mission was to interrogate and board vessels entering US waterways. This marked a change in the Coast Guard’s operations as an emphasis on homeland security preceded the Dallas’s previous missions of drug interdiction and operations with the U.S. Navy overseas.

During the summer of 2002, the Dallas took part in a new approach to maritime drug interdiction. Deployed alongside the USCGC Gallatin (WHEC-721), the only other 378-foot cutter on the East Coast, the Dallas took part in Operation New Frontier. Operation New Frontier utilizes armed helicopters from the Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron (HITRON) to stop small high-speed vessel ("go-fasts") before they can reach their destination.

In 2003, the Dallas was assigned to the U.S. Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The Dallas initially provided armed escorts through the Straits of Gibraltar and conducted boardings of vessels leaving the Suez Canal, as the Iraqis fled. The Dallas made port calls in Rota Spain, Split Croatia, Sicily, and Madeira Portugal.

In August 2008, the Dallas was sent to Georgia's shoreline on the Black Sea in support of Operation Assured Delivery in order to bring humanitarian supplies to those affected by the South Ossetia war [1]. With Georgia's main naval base at Poti effectively under Russian control, the Dallas instead docked at Batumi[2], as did the USS McFaul and 9 other NATO ships.[3]

The Dallas’s awards include: two Joint Meritorious Unit Awards, three Coast Guard Unit Commendations, a Navy Unit Commendation (as part of the Battle Force 6th Fleet Task Force 60 for Operation Iraqi Freedom), two Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendations, a Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Armed Forces Service Medal, three Humanitarian Service Medals, numerous Coast Guard Special Operations Service Ribbons, the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation, the Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

The Philippine Navy officially confirmed the Joint Visual Inspection (JVI) by its officials led by Rear Admiral Orwen Cortez of South Carolina-based Hamilton class cutter USCGC Dallas (WHEC-716) from October 31 to November 5, 2011. The ship was transferred as an excess defense article through the Foreign Assistance Act via a "hot transfer" in May 2012.[4]

It was said that the Philippine Navy will be naming it after a World War II Hero, Ramon A. Alcaraz during the commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of Fall of Corregidor.[5]

See also[edit]

BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16)

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Niedermeyer, Karl (2012-04-03). "Dallas’ everlasting impact". US Coast Guard. Retrieved 2012-04-05. 
  2. ^ "USCGC DALLAS Decommissioning Set for March 30, 2012". US Coast Guard - Capital Area Retiree Council. 2012-01-15. Retrieved 2012-02-23. 
  3. ^ "US government to hand over second ship to Philippines". Philstar.com. 2012-02-09. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  4. ^ "Navy Capability Upgrade Team Inspects New Ship". Philippine Navy - Naval Public Affairs Office. 2011-11-08. Retrieved 2011-11-10. 
  5. ^ "BRP Ramon Alcaraz: The next WHEC". PH Defense today. adroth.ph.