USCGC Yakutat (WAVP-380)

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USCGC Yakutat (WHEC-380)
USCGC Yakutat (WHEC-380, ex-WAVP-380) in 1969.
Career (United States)
Name: USCGC Yakutat
Namesake: Yakutat Bay, on the coast of Alaska (previous name retained)
Builder: Associated Shipbuilders, Inc., Seattle, Washington
Laid down: 1 April 1942
Launched: 2 July 1942
Completed: March 1944
Acquired: Loaned by United States Navy to Coast Guard 31 August 1948
Transferred permanently from Navy to Coast Guard 26 September 1966
Commissioned: 23 November 1948
Decommissioned: 1 January 1971[1]
Reclassified: High endurance cutter, WHEC-380, 1 May 1966
Honors and
awards:
One award of the Navy Unit Commendation
One award of the Meritorious Unit Commendation
Four campaign stars for Vietnam War service
Fate: Transferred to U.S. Navy[2]
Transferred to South Vietnam 10 January 1971[3]
Transferred to Philippines on 5 April 1976[4] or 6 April 1976[5]
Probably scrapped ca. 1982
Notes: Served as United States Navy seaplane tender USS Yakutat (AVP-32) 1944–1946
Served as South Vietnamese patrol vessel RVNS Tran Nhat Duat (HQ-03) 1971–1975
Cannibalized for spare parts in Philippines without entering service
General characteristics
Class & type: Casco-class cutter
Displacement: 2,529 tons (full load) in 1966
Length: 310 ft 9.25 in (94.7230 m) overall; 300 ft 0 in (91.44 m) between perpendiculars
Beam: 41 ft 0 in (12.50 m) maximum
Draft: 12 ft 11 in (3.94 m) at full load in 1966
Installed power: 6,400 bhp (4,800 kW)
Propulsion: Fairbanks-Morse geared diesel engines, two shafts; 165,625 US gallons (626,960 L) of fuel
Speed: 17.6 knots (32.6 km/h) (maximum sustained in 1966)
11.0 knots (20.4 km/h) (economic in 1966)
Range: 9,500 nautical miles (17,600 km) at 17.6 knots (32.6 km/h) in 1966
20,000 nautical miles (37,000 km) at 11.0 knots (20.4 km/h) in 1966
Complement: 151 (10 officers, 3 warrant officers, 138 enlisted personnel) in 1966
Sensors and
processing systems:
Radars in 1966: SPS-23, SPS-29D
Sonar in 1966: SQS-1
Armament: In 1966: 1 x single 5-inch (127 mm) 38-caliber Mark 12-1 gun mount; 1 x Mark 10-1 antisubmarine projector; 2 x Mark 32 Mod 2 torpedo launchers with 3 torpedo tubes each)

USCGC Yakutat (WAVP-380), later WHEC-380, was a Casco-class United States Coast Guard cutter in service from 1948 to 1971.

Construction and U.S. Navy service[edit]

Yakutat began as the United States Navy Barnegat-class seaplane tender, USS Yakutat (AVP-32). She was laid down on 1 April 1942 by Associated Shipbuilders, Inc. at Seattle, Washington, launched on 2 July 1943, and commissioned into the U.S. Navy on 31 March 1944. She served in the Central Pacific during World War II and on occupation duty in Japan postwar. She was decommissioned on 29 July 1946 and placed in reserve at Alameda, California.

Transferred to the United States Coast Guard[edit]

Barnegat-class ships were very reliable and seaworthy and had good habitability. 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 Yakutat to the Coast Guard on 31 August 1948. In September 1948, she was towed to the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco, California, where she underwent conversion for service as a weather reporting ship. The Coast Guard commissioned her as USCGC Yakutat (WAVP-380) at San Francisco on 23 November 1948.

U.S. Coast Guard service[edit]

North Atlantic operations 1949–1967[edit]

Proceeding from San Francisco via the Panama Canal and Kingston, Jamaica, Yakutat eventually commenced ocean station patrol duties in the North Atlantic, based at Portland, Maine, in late January 1949. Her primary duty was 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.

Yakutat shifted her home port to New Bedford, Massachusetts, later in 1949, and operated out of New Bedford until 1971, continuing her ocean station patrols. Periodically, she conducted naval refresher training in company with U.S. Navy ships out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In February 1952, Yakutat proceeded to the scene of an unusual maritime disaster that occurred off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Two commercial tankersSS Fort Mercer and SS Pendleton – each broke in two and sank almost simultaneously. Yakutat, as the ship in tactical command of the rescue efforts, consequently picked up men from both ships and directed the rescue efforts of other participating vessels in the vicinity. Members of her crew were awarded one gold and five silver Lifesaving Medals for their achievemnents in this rescue operation.

In December 1952, Yakutat rescued survivors of a plane crash off the entrance to St. George's Harbor, Bermuda, with her small boats.

On 14 September 1953, Yakutat performed emergency repairs by constructing a concrete bulkhead aboard and pumping the bilges of the Spanish merchant ship Marte, which had a large hole at the waterline, about 750 nautical miles (1,390 km) southeast of Naval Station Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada.

In the autumn of 1955, Yakutat assisted the Portuguese fishing vessel Jose Alberto.

Yakutat assisted the damaged Liberian merchant ship Bordabere 400 nautical miles (740 km) south of Cape Race, Newfoundland, between 27 April 1965 and 3 May 1965. Yakutat's crew shored up Bordabere, pumped out seawater that had flooded her, and escorted her to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

In late November 1965, Yakutat assisted the American merchant ships American Pilot and Maumee Sun after they collided west of the Cape Cod Canal.

Yakutat was reclassified as a high endurance cutter and redesignated WHEC-380 on 1 May 1966. On 26 September 1966, her Navy loan to the Coast Guard came to an end and she was transferred permanently from the Navy to the Coast Guard.

Vietnam War service 1967–1968[edit]

USCGC Yakutat during her Vietnam War service.

In 1967, Yakutat was assigned to Coast Guard Squadron Three, which was designated Task Unit 70.8.6. The squadron was activated at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on 24 April 1967 when its commander, Captain John E. Day, hoisted his pennant aboard his flagship, Coast Guard cutter USCGC Gresham (WHEC-387).

Coast Guard Squadron Three was tasked to operate, in conjunction with U.S. Navy forces, in Operation Market Time, the interdiction of communist coastal arms and munitions traffic along the coastline of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The squadron's other Vietnam War duties included fire support for ground forces, resupplying Coast Guard and Navy patrol boats, and search-and-rescue operations. Serving in the squadron with Gresham and Yakutat were cutters USCGC Bering Strait (WAVP-382), USCGC Barataria (WHEC-381), and USCGC Half Moon (WHEC-378); like Yakutat and Gresham, they all were former Navy Barnegat-class ships. They departed Pearl Harbor on 26 April 1967 and reported to Commander, United States Seventh Fleet, for Market Time duty on 4 May 1967. They were joined by Navy radar picket destroyer escorts (DERs) of Escort Squadrons 5 and 7.

The ten Market Time ships arrived at Subic Bay in the Philippines on 10 May 1967. The five Coast Guard cutters and five Navy destroyer escorts continuously manned four Market Time stations off Vietnam, while only Navy warships served on two Taiwan patrol stations. One ship rotated duty as the station ship in Hong Kong. Yakutat remained in the Western Pacific until 1 January 1968, then returned to the United States.

Yakutat earned two campaign stars during this Vietnam War tour, for:

  • Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase II 31 May 1967
  • Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase III 1 July 1967 – 18 December 1967

North Atlantic service 1968–1970[edit]

Yakutat returned to her routine North Atlantic duties out of New Bedford in 1968. On 28 February 1969 she suffered minor damage when the fishing vessel Seafreeze Atlantic collided with her while docking at New Bedford.

Vietnam War service 1970[edit]

In 1970, Yakutat was reassigned to Coast Guard Squadron Three for a second tour of duty in Vietnam, and resumed her Operation Market Time duties on 17 May 1970. She completed her tour on 31 December 1970.

Yakutat earned two more campaign stars during this Vietnam War tour, for:

  • Sanctuary Counteroffensive 10 June 1970 – 30 June 1970
  • Vietnamese Counteroffensive - Phase VII 1 July 1970 – 6 July 1970, 16 July 1970 to 19 July 1970, 30 July 1970 – 7 August 1970, 17 August 1970 – 22 August 1970, 24 August 1970 – 28 August 1970, 27 October 1970 – 6 November 1970, and 22 November 1970 – 1 January 1971

Other awards[edit]

Yakutat also received a Navy Unit Commendation and a Meritorious Unit Commendation during her Coast Guard career.

Decommissioning[edit]

The Coast Guard decommissioned Yakutat on 1 January 1971 in South Vietnam and transferred her to the U.S. Navy.[6]

Foreign service[edit]

Republic of Vietnam Navy service 1971–1975[edit]

The U.S. Navy transferred Yakutat to South Vietnam on 10 January 1971[7] and she was commissioned into the Republic of Vietnam Navy as RVNS Tran Nhat Duat (HQ-03). Tran Nhat Duat cooperated with units of the United States Navy on coastal patrol and counter-insurgency missions off the coast of South Vietnam until the collapse of that country at the end of the Vietnam War in April 1975, when she fled to Subic Bay in the Philippines.

On 22 May 1975 and 23 May 1975, a U.S. Coast Guard team inspected Tran Nhat Duat and several other former Casco-class cutters which had been transferred to South Vietnam in 1971 and 1972 and, like Tran Nhat Duat, fled to the Philippines in April 1975. One of the inspectors noted: "These vessels brought in several hundred refugees and are generally rat-infested. They are in a filthy, deplorable condition. Below decks generally would compare with a garbage scow."[8]

Acquisition for spare parts by the Philippine Navy[edit]

After Tran Nhat Duat was cleaned, the U.S. Navy transferred her to the Republic of the Philippines; title to her was formally transferred to the Philippines on 5 April 1976[9] or 6 April 1976.[10] She never entered service with the Philippine Navy, instead being cannibalized for spare parts. She was discarded ca. 1982 and probably was scrapped.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Per NavSource.org (see http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/43/4332.htm), the ship was returned to the Navy during 1970, but the U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office (see http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Yakutat_1948.pdf) places her Coast Guard decommissioning date at 1 January 1971
  2. ^ Per the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (see http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/y1/yakutat.htm) and NavSource.org (see http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/43/4332.htm), Yakutat was transferred to the Navy sometime in 1970, but the Coast Guard Historian's Office (see http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Yakutat_1948.pdf) placed her Coast Guard decommissioning date at 1 January 1971; her transfer to South Vietnam on 10 January 1971 (per both the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships and NavSource.org entries) suggests that might have been the date of both her return to the U.S. Navy and her transfer to South Vietnam, as these events happened simultaneously with her sister ships.
  3. ^ Per the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (see http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/y1/yakutat.htm) and NavSource.org (see http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/43/4332.htm), although the Coast Guard Historian's office places the transfer date at 1 January 1971, which was simultaneous with her deommissioning. Given that her sisters were decommissioned, transferred to the Navy, and transfererd simultaneously, and this may have been the case with Yakutat, and may have occurred on either 1 January 1971 or 10 January 1971.
  4. ^ Per the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (see http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/y1/yakutat.htm).
  5. ^ Per NavSource.org (see http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/43/4332.htm)
  6. ^ Per the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (see http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/y1/yakutat.htm) and NavSource.org (see http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/43/4332.htm), Yakutat was transferred to the Navy sometime in 1970, but the Coast Guard Historian's Office (see http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/Yakutat_1948.pdf) places her Coast Guard decommissioning date at 1 January 1971; her transfer to South Vietnam on 10 January 1971 (per both the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships and NavSource.org entries) suggests that that might have been the date of both her return to the U.S. Navy and her transfer to South Vietnam, as these events happened simultaneously with her sister ships.
  7. ^ Per the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (see http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/y1/yakutat.htm) and NavSource.org (see http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/43/4332.htm), although the Coast Guard Historian's office places the transfer date at 1 January 1971, which was simultaneous with her deommissioning. Given that her sisters were decommissioned, transferred to the Navy, and transfererd simultaneously, and this may have been the case with Yakutat, and may have occurred on either 1 January 1971 or 10 January 1971.
  8. ^ This quote, from the U.S. Coast Guard Historian's Office at http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/McCulloch_1946.pdf, is unattributed.
  9. ^ Per the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (see http://www.history.navy.mil/danfs/y1/yakutat.htm).
  10. ^ Per NavSource.org (see http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/43/4332.htm)

References[edit]

See also[edit]