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USCGC Duane underway in the early 1960s
USCGC Duane under way in the early 1960s
United States
Name: USCGC Duane (WPG-33)
Namesake: William J. Duane
Builder: Philadelphia Navy Yard, Pennsylvania
Cost: $2,468,460
Yard number: CG-67
Laid down: 1 May 1935
Launched: 3 June 1936
Commissioned: 1 August 1936
Decommissioned: 1 August 1985
Identification: Call sign: NRDD
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Treasury-class cutter
Displacement: 2,350 long tons (2,388 t)
Length: 327 ft (100 m)
Beam: 41 ft (12 m)
Draft: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m)
  • 2 × Westinghouse double-reduction geared turbine engines, 6,200 shp (4,623 kW)
  • 2 × Babcock & Wilcox sectional express, air-encased, 400 psi, 200° superheat boilers
  • 2 × 9 ft (2.7 m) three-bladed propellers
Speed: 20.5 knots (38.0 km/h; 23.6 mph)
Range: 8,000 nmi (15,000 km; 9,200 mi) at 11 kn (20 km/h; 13 mph)
  • 1937: 123 (12 officers, 4 warrants, 107 enlisted men)
  • 1941: 223 (16 officers, 5 warrants, 202 enlisted men)
  • 1966: 147 (10 officers, 3 warrants, 134 enlisted men)
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
  • 1942:
  • HF/DF
  • 1945:
  • SC-3 50 cm radar
  • SGa 10 cm radar
  • Mk.26 fire control radar
  • QC series sonar
  • 1966:
  • AN/SPS-29D radar
  • AN/SPS-52 radar
  • Mk.26 MOD 4 fire control radar
  • AN/SQS-11 sonar
Aircraft carried:
USCGC Duane (WPG-33)
USCGC Duane is located in Florida
USCGC Duane is located in the United States
LocationMonroe County, Florida, USA
Nearest cityKey Largo
Coordinates25°0′25.98″N 80°20′47.22″W / 25.0072167°N 80.3464500°W / 25.0072167; -80.3464500Coordinates: 25°0′25.98″N 80°20′47.22″W / 25.0072167°N 80.3464500°W / 25.0072167; -80.3464500
NRHP reference No.02000494[2]
Added to NRHPMay 16, 2002

The USCGC Duane (WPG-33/WAGC-6/WHEC-33) (earlier known as the USCGC William J. Duane) was a cutter in the United States Coast Guard. Her keel was laid on May 1, 1935 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was launched on June 3, 1936 as a search and rescue and law enforcement vessel.

The "Treasury" class Coast Guard cutters (sometimes referred to as the "Secretary" or 327-foot class) were all named for former Secretaries of the Treasury Department. The cutter Duane was named for William John Duane, who served as the third Secretary of the Treasury to serve under President Andrew Jackson.

Ship history[edit]

After fitting out, she departed the Philadelphia Navy Yard on October 16, 1936 and arrived at Oakland, California on November 24. She was then assigned to temporary duty in Honolulu, and arrived there on December 9, 1936, to participate in the U.S. colonization efforts of the Line Islands in the Pacific. The Duane then returned to her permanent homeport of Oakland, arriving on February 25, 1937. For the next two years, she joined the Bering Sea Patrol Force for annual cruises of that area. In mid-1937 her name was shortened to merely Duane. In September 1939 she was assigned to duty with Destroyer Division 18, conducting neutrality patrols along the Grand Banks (these patrols were known as "Grand Banks Patrols"), as ordered by President Franklin Roosevelt. She departed Oakland on September 7, 1939 and arrived at her new homeport of Boston on September 22, 1939. Here she conducted four Grand Banks patrols, from October through December, 1939, completing her final patrol on January 12, 1940.

World War II[edit]

USCGC Duane (WPG-33) off Greenland in 1940

Duane was then assigned to weather patrols in the mid-Atlantic, and also carried out a survey of the western coast of Greenland in mid-1940. In late 1940 she was fitted with additional armaments, receiving anti-aircraft and anti-submarine weapons. On 14 June 1941 she rescued 46 survivors from the British tanker Tresillian, which had been sunk by U-77. She was assigned to permanent duty with the U.S. Navy on 11 September 1941, and was designated WPG-33. On 1 April 1942 the Duane was reassigned from weather patrols to convoy escort duty during the battle of the Atlantic.

Convoy Escort Group Dates Notes
SC 81 5 May 1942[3] Iceland shuttle
SC 83 17 May 1942[3] Iceland shuttle
ON 98 27–30 May 1942[4] Iceland shuttle
ON 102 14–17 June 1942[4] Iceland shuttle
SC 89 29 June 1942[3] Iceland shuttle
ON 112 14–17 July 1942[4] Iceland shuttle
SC 91 19 July 1942[3] Iceland shuttle
ON 116 25–29 July 1942[4] Iceland shuttle
ON 117 31 July-3 Aug 1942[4] Iceland shuttle
ON 120 9-14 Aug 1942[4] Iceland shuttle
SC 95 14 Aug 1942[3] Iceland shuttle
SC 99 12 Sept 1942[3] Iceland shuttle
ON 136 5-9 Oct 1942[4] Iceland shuttle
SC 103 10 Oct 1942[3] Iceland shuttle
ON 140 19-24 Oct 1942[4] Iceland shuttle
SC 105 25-26 Oct 1942[3] Iceland shuttle
ON 144 8-15 Nov 1942[4] Iceland shuttle
ON 148 25-27 Nov 1942[4] Iceland shuttle
HX 216 28 Nov-1 Dec 1942[5] Iceland shuttle
SC 110 1-2 Dec 1942[3] Iceland shuttle
ON 156 25-30 Dec 1942[4] Iceland shuttle
SC 114 [3] Iceland shuttle
SC 116 16-24 Jan 1943[3] Iceland shuttle
ON 163 26 Jan-3 Feb 1943[4] Iceland shuttle
HX 233 MOEF group A-3 12–20 April 1943[5] from Newfoundland to Northern Ireland

Duane was converted to an combined operations-communications headquarters ship in 1944. Upon completion, she was to have been taken over by the Navy and assigned the hull number AGC-6. However, this plan was dropped and she was retained for Coast Guard service (her designation then became WAGC-6). Duane was attached to the Eighth Amphibious Force in the Mediterranean Sea, and took part in "Operation Dragoon", the invasion of southern France, in August 1944. She remained in the Mediterranean until July 1945, when she returned to the United States and reverted to her previous designation WPG-33.


The ocean-weather station program was permanently established by multi-national agreement soon after the end of World War II. The Coast Guard was then assigned the duty of manning those stations for which the U.S. accepted responsibility. As the 327s completed conversion to ocean station vessels, each immediately deployed to their new stations. For most of the next twenty years, Duane and her sisters, except Taney which was stationed in the Pacific, alternated duty between weather stations "Charlie" (850 miles northeast of St. Johns, Newfoundland), "Bravo" (250 miles northeast of Cape St. Charles, Labrador); "Delta" (located 650 miles southeast of Argentia, Newfoundland); and "Echo" (850 miles east northeast of Bermuda). Sometime later these became known simply as "ocean stations." Although the crew probably considered these patrols boring, they were important to the continued growth and safety of international over-water commercial air flights. On 1 May 1965 all the vessels in her class were re-classified as high endurance cutters and she was redesignated WHEC-33.

Vietnam and after[edit]

USCGC Duane (WHEC-33) returning from Vietnam in 1968

On 4 December 1967 Duane was assigned to Coast Guard Squadron Three off the coast of Vietnam, where she served as the flagship for Coast Guard squadron. The Duane permanently departed Vietnamese waters on July 28, 1968. The Duane then again returned to ocean station duty but this task was rapidly becoming obsolete. The stations were decommissioned in the early 1970s, having been overtaken by electronic aids to navigation such as LORAN. The mid-1970s were a period of transition for the Coast Guard with the passage of the Fisheries Conservation and Management Act and the nation's shift towards increased interdiction of narcotics smugglers. These operations called for off-shore patrols of up to three weeks.

Decommissioning and disposal[edit]

The crow's nest of the Duane in March 2007

Duane left Coast Guard service and was decommissioned on August 1, 1985 as the oldest active U.S. military vessel and was laid up in Boston for the next two years.

Duane is now a historic shipwreck near Key Largo, Florida, United States. The cutter was deliberately sunk on November 27, 1987 to create an artificial reef. It is located a mile south of Molasses Reef. On May 16, 2002, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.[2]


In media[edit]

  • "People Who Make a Difference," a 1991 episode of the PBS television series Return to the Sea, includes footage of a dive on the wreck of Duane.


  1. ^ "Duane (WPG-33/WAGC-6/WHEC-33)". U.S. Coast Guard Cutter History. 2012. Archived from the original on 30 April 2017. Retrieved 29 July 2012.
  2. ^ a b "National Register of Historic Places - May 24, 2002". Archived from the original on January 21, 2009. Retrieved September 14, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "SC convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Archived from the original on 2011-05-20. Retrieved 2011-06-21.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "ON convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Archived from the original on 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2011-06-19.
  5. ^ a b "HX convoys". Andrew Hague Convoy Database. Archived from the original on 2011-05-20. Retrieved 2011-06-19.

External links[edit]