USCGC Hamilton (WHEC-715)

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USCGC Hamilton (WHEC-715).jpg
USCGC Hamilton (WHEC-715)
United States
Name: Hamilton
Namesake: Alexander Hamilton
Builder: Avondale Shipyards
Launched: December 18, 1965
Commissioned: March 18, 1967
Decommissioned: March 28, 2011
  • Semper Paratus
  • (Always Ready)
Fate: Decommissioned and transferred as an Excess Defense Article to the Philippines as BRP Gregorio del Pilar
Badge: USCGC Hamilton (WHEC-715) (crest).gif
General characteristics
Class and type: Hamilton-class high endurance cutter
Displacement: 3,250 tons
Length: 378 ft (115.2 m)
Beam: 43 ft (13.1 m)
Propulsion: Two Fairbanks-Morse diesel engines and two Pratt & Whitney gas turbine engines
Speed: 28 knots (52 km/h) max
Range: 14,000 nautical miles (25,900 km)
Endurance: 45 days
Complement: 167
Sensors and
processing systems:
AN/SPS-40 air-search radar MK 92 Fire Control System

USCGC Hamilton (WHEC-715) was a United States Coast Guard high endurance cutter and the lead ship of its class. Hamilton was based at Boston, Massachusetts from commissioning until 1991 and then out of San Pedro, California before it was moved to its last home port in San Diego, California. Launched on December 18, 1965 at Avondale Shipyards near New Orleans, Louisiana and named for Alexander Hamilton, the first United States Secretary of the Treasury and founder of the United States Revenue Cutter Service. The cutter was commissioned on March 18, 1967.

USCGC Hamilton was decommissioned on March 28, 2011 and transferred to the Philippine Navy as an excess defense article under the Foreign Assistance Act on May 13, 2011 as BRP Gregorio del Pilar.


The United States Coast Guard designed a high level of habitability into Hamilton. Living compartments and areas provided fairly comfortable accommodations, including air conditioning, for the 173 men and women who served on board.[1]


Hamilton was the first U.S. military vessel to employ the now common shipboard application of aircraft gas turbine jet engines with the use of controllable pitch propellers. Hamilton's two 18,000-horsepower (13,000 kW) Pratt & Whitney[2] gas turbines could propel Hamilton at speeds up to 28 knots (52 km/h). Hamilton also has two 3,500-horsepower (2,600 kW) Fairbanks-Morse[2] diesel engines, capable of driving the ship economically at 17 knots (31 km/h) for up to 14,400 nautical miles (26,700 km) without refueling.[2] A retractable/rotatable bow propulsion unit provides exceptional maneuverability in tight situations.

Flight support[edit]

Hamilton's flight deck and hangar, capable of handling both Coast Guard and United States Navy helicopters extended the vessel's rescue and maritime law enforcement operations.


In 1988, Hamilton completed a three-year fleet renovation and modernization that provided the ship with modern weapons and electronics systems Including harpoon missiles and modernized anti-submarine warfare suite. All spaces and machinery were also completely overhauled and refurbished. The new technology enabled Hamilton to operate seamlessly with the United States Navy.[1]


Crewmembers of USCGC Hamilton at San Diego, California, in 2010

Hamilton had served a variety of missions with distinction. During a 1969–1970 deployment to Vietnam, Hamilton interdicted weapons smugglers and fired more than 4,600 rounds of gunfire in support of U.S. and South Vietnamese troops ashore. From 1965–1975, Hamilton served on Atlantic Ocean Stations, collecting valuable oceanographic data and conducting frequent search and rescue missions. Hamilton also directed the interdictions of over 21,000 Haitian migrants throughout the Caribbean during Operation Able Manner. In 1994, Hamilton received the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation for rescuing 135 Haitians from the sea after their sailboat capsized and sank. In 1996, Hamilton transited the Panama Canal and served as the command and control platform for Operation Frontier Shield, a multi-agency effort to curtail the influx of narcotics into the United States. Hamilton intercepted 14 drug-laden vessels carrying more than 115 tons of contraband worth 200 million dollars. In 1999, Hamilton seized over 2,700 kilograms (6,000 lb) of cocaine bound for the U.S. in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Hamilton frequently patrolled the Bering Sea off the Alaskan coast at the Maritime Boundary Line (MBL) which separates the Russian and the United States' exclusive economic zones (EEZ). Hamilton's presence on the MBL deters foreign fishing vessels from fishing in the U.S. EEZ.[1]

In March 2007, Hamilton assisted Sherman in the largest recorded maritime drug bust in history. The two vessels intercepted the Panamanian-flagged fishing vessel Gatun in international waters and were able to recover 20 metric tons (20 long tons) of cocaine, with an estimated street value of $600 million retail. The seizure was the largest drug bust in US history and the largest interdiction at sea.[3]


The U.S. Navy League Cadet Corps (NLCC) has a unit commissioned named after USCGC Hamilton. The units name is Training Ship Hamilton located in San Pedro, California.[4]


  1. ^ a b c "History of USCGC Hamilton (WHEC-715)". USCGC Hamilton (WHEC-715) official web site. United States Coast Guard. 2008-06-20. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  2. ^ a b c "WHEC 378' Hamilton class". 2005-04-27. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  3. ^ Carter, Cmdr. Jeff (March 21, 2007). "Coast Guard Makes Recort Maritime Cocaine Seizure". USCG Press Statement. United States Coast Guard. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  4. ^ "Home". USNSCC HAVEN DIVISION / USNLCC T.S. HAMILTON. Retrieved 2017-01-13.

External links[edit]