USCGC Diligence (WMEC-616)

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USCGC Diligence WMEC-616.jpg
USCGC Diligence in 2002
History
United States
Builder: Todd Shipyards, Houston, Texas
Acquired: 20 July 1963[1]
Commissioned: 1964
Homeport: Wilmington, North Carolina
Status: Active
General characteristics
Displacement: 759 tons
Length: 210 ft 6 in (64.16 m)
Beam: 34 ft (10 m)
Draft: 10 ft 6 in (3.20 m) max
Propulsion: 2 x V16 2550 horsepower ALCO diesel engines
Speed: max 18 knots; 2,700 mile range
Range: cruise 14 knots; 6,100 mile range
Complement: 12 officers, 63 enlisted
Sensors and
processing systems:
2 x AN/SPS-64
Armament:
Aircraft carried: HH-65 Dolphin

USCGC Diligence (WMEC-616) is a Reliance-class United States Coast Guard 210-foot medium endurance cutter,[2] and is the second of 16 built from 1962–1968. Fourteen of this class cutter are still in active U.S. service, and two have been transferred to foreign navies.

All Reliance-class cutters were built with dual shafts and controllable pitch propellers, and were capable of speeds up to 18 knots.[2]

History[edit]

Diligence moors up in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina, and is the 6th US Coast Guard Cutter to bear that name and be homeported in Wilmington, which is one of only fourteen cities in the country with the designation of "A Coast Guard City".[3] Diligence is capable of performing any of the missions that white-hulled Coast Guard Cutters traditionally perform, ranging from alien migrant interdiction operations (AMIO) and drug interdiction missions down in the Caribbean, to fisheries protection of the Atlantic seaboard, to search and rescue (S&R) anywhere in between. The S&R capabilities are enhanced by utilizing helicopters to extend the reach of the cutters well beyond the horizon.

The Diligence docked at her home port in Wilmington, NC, USA.

The cutter Diligence was seen in the 1966 science fiction movie Around the World Under the Sea starring Lloyd Bridges.

On April 23, 1982, the Diligence was attacked by the navy of the newly declared Conch Republic when Key West announced that day that it was seceding from the Union in a dispute over a U.S. Border Patrol roadblock and inspection point further up the Florida Keys in front of Skeeter's Last Chance Saloon.[4] The sailing Schooner "Western Union", under command of Captain John Kraus, went forth into the harbor at Key West and attacked the cutter with water balloons, Conch fritters and stale Cuban bread. The Diligence fought back with fire hoses, and thus commenced the "Great Battle of the Conch Republic." Vastly outgunned, the Conch Republic's Prime Minister (Mayor Dennis Wardlow) promptly surrendered to a man dressed in a naval uniform, and requested one billion dollars in foreign aid from the United States government.[5] The road block was quietly removed by the Border Patrol after the great publicity that was generated.

USCGC Diligence (WMEC-616) in 1965. Note the lack of exhaust stacks and the dual exhaust ports near the waterline on the transom on the original design. Reliance class cutters would later have stacks added during future overhauls.

References[edit]

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