Return to Famous

Famous Cutters

Designation Name/Hull Num Class/Rig Service Comments Pix Model
USRC Eagle Topsail schooner 1809 – 1814 Commanded by CAPT Fredrick Lee
Escorted merchantmen around New York
Attacked by 18 gun brig HMS Dispatch in 1814
Ran aground trying to escape
Crew hauled cannons to top of a 160′ cliff and took Dispatch under fire
When all ammunition was expended the crew withdrew to safety
British siezed the grounded cutter whose ultimate fate is unknown
Commemorated in Semper Paratus
USRC Harriet Lane Sidewheeler 1857 – 1861
1863 – 1864
First successful steam cutter
At Fort Sumpter, fired across the bow of merchantman Nashville
First naval shot of Civil War
Operated against Fort Clark and For Hatteras
Supported actions against Vicksburg and at Mobile Bay
Participated in capture of Galveston in October 1862
Captured when CSA retook Galveston in January 1863
Finished the war as a blockade runner named Livinia
Returned to Federal service after the war
Sold as unservicable in 1864
Became merchantman Elliott Richie
Lost in a storm in 1887
USRC/USCGC Bear Sealer 1885 – 1929
1941 – 1944
Built by Alexander Stephenin Dundee Scotland as a sealer in 1874
Taken into US Navy service in 1884 as part of the rescue fleet for the
ill-fated Greeley Arctic expedition
1885: Taken into the Revenue Cutter Service to patrol Alaskan waters
Most famous commanding office was Mike “Hell Roarin'” Healy
Served 41 years in the ice
Carried reindeer from Siberia to Alaska to feed natives
Overland rescue of over 250 sealers stuck in the ice
Decomissioned in 1929 and turned over to Oakland, CA
Used as a set in filming of Jack London’s “Sea Wolf”
Acquired by Adm. Richard Byrd for his 1933 Antarctic Expedition
Returned from the Byrd expedition in 1941 to Boston
In WWII she was part of the Greenland Patrol
Took part in the capture of the Norwegian supply ship Buskoe
Decommissioned again in 1944
Sold to a Canadian sealing company – never operational
Purchased by Alfred Johnston of Villanova, PA in 1948
To be used as a restaurant museum in Philadelphia
Sank while being towed to Philadelphia
One of the most famous Cutters Coast Guard history
The mascot of the CG Academy is a Bear in her honor
USRC/USCGC Hudson Steam tug 1893 – 1935 First RC with steel hull and triple-expansion plating
Rescued USS Winslow in Spanish American War
CO, LT Frank Newcomb, not awarded Medal of Honor
because RCS was not “military”
A Fletcher Class DD was named for Newcomb
Commemorated in Semper Paratus
(former Miami)
190 Miami 1916 – 1918 Sunk by German U-boat
Cited by RADM Niblack, Commander US Naval Forces Gibralter,
for outstanding service
CO, CAPT Charles Satterlee, had 2 Navy destroyers named for him
Commemorated in Semper Paratus
USCGC Northland
WPG 49
1927 – 1946 Built as a replacement for the venerable Bear
Performed on Bering Sea Patrol doing
“everything under the midnight sun”
Transferred to Boston in 1938 in preparation for war
Flagship of the Greenland Parol
Seized Norwegian sealer Buskoe – a German supply ship
First seizure of the war – 12 Sep 1941
Sold to an American company working with the Israeli underground
Renamed Jewish State, she ran refugees to Israel
First warship of the Israeli Navy in 1948 – Renamed Matzpen
Ended as an accommodations ship for Port Command Haifa
Decommissioned and sold in 1962
USCGC Escanaba
WPG 77
165A Algonquin 1932 – 1943 Commissioned 17 September 1932 – stationed in Grand Haven, MI
Operated entirely in the Great Lakes
Established close ties with Grand Haven – Coast Guard City, USA
The city always celebrated the 4 August birthday of the Coast Guard
Transferred to the Greenland Patrol in 1942
It was noted that survivors were too cold to hold rescue lines
LT Robert Prouse, Escanaba XO, developed a rubber suit that
rescuers could wear into the water to pick up survivors
Suits were used to rescue 133 men from the torpedoed Dorchester
Widely used by other ships throughout the war
13 June 1942 – Escanaba exploded and sank
Final cause was never established
All but 2 of her 103 man crew were lost
4 August 1943 over 20,000 people in Grand Haven attended
memorial services for Escanaba
Grand Haven is still Coast Guard City, USA
and still marks Coast Guard Day with a grand celebration
USCGC Storis
1942 – 2007 Built as a supply cutter for the Greenland patrol
Basically a stretched 180′ buoy tender with an Duck on the fantail
Stationed in Boston after the war
1 July 1957 Set out with CGCs Spar and Bramble to find
a deep water channel through the Arctic Ocean
This transit ended the 450 year search for the Northwest Passage
Returned to Greenland via the passage and then transited to Alaska
via the Panama Canal becoming the first cutter to
circumnavigate the North American Continent
Performed ice breaking duty until 1972
Converted to Medium Endurance Cutter
Decommissioned in 2007
Known as the Galloping Coast of the Alaskan Coast
Queen of the Fleet 1991 to 2007
USCGC Eastwind
WAGB 279
269 Wind 1944 – 1968 Built for combat operations in Greenland
First American ship class capable of arctic ice breaking operations
Only One of the original 4 Wind Class to not go to Russia
Primary cutter in the Externstein seizure
Several Operation Deep Freeze deployments after the war
19 January 1949: Collided with tanker Gulfstream
First Wind Class decommissioned
WIX 295
295 Barque 1946 – Active Built in 1936 and named Horst Wessel
a stormtrooper who wrote the Nazi party anthem
and died fighting German Communists in 1930
Training ship in the German Navy
Seized as a war prize in 1946
Commissioned into the Coast Guard as the Academy training cutter
Only sailing vessel in commissioned US service
America’s Tall Ship
USCGC Tamaroa
WMEC 166
(ex USS Zuni
ATF 66)
205′ Apache Class
Fleet Tug (ATF)
1946 – 1994 Commissioned in 1943 as USS Zuni
Acquired by the Coast Guard in 1946
Served in NY until 1985, then in New Castle, NH
14 March 1963 – Became the first Coast Guard submarine
In drydock when disgruntled crewman opened the seacocks
sinking both the drydock and the Tam
Famous for participating in the “No Name Storm of Halloween 1991”
Made famous by the book and movie Perfect Storm
The cutter in the movie was digital
The producers chose to depict Tam as a sleek cutter with a flight deck
even though she was a matronly old tug boat
The last of the post-war Navy acquisitions to de decommissioned
Currently a museum ship in Richmond, VA
USCGC Acushnet
(ex USS Shackel)
213′ Diver Class
Rescue Ship (ARS)
1946 – 2011 Commissioned in 1944 as USS Shackle (ARS 9)
Transferred to the Coast Guard in 1946
Served in Boston
Took part in the Two Tankers Rescue in 1952
and on International Ice Patrol cruises
1968 to 1971: Oceanographic Research Cutter (WAGO)
Attached to Office of Naval Research
and Scripps Oceanographic Institute
as part of the NOAA National Data Buoy Project
Became known as NOAA’s Ark
1978: designated a Medium Endurance Cutter
1990: transferred to Eureka, CA and operated in Alaskan waters
1998: Transferred to Ketchikan, AK
Queen of the Fleet from 2007 to 2011
USCGC Courier
338 C1-M-AV1
Cargo Ship
1952 – 1972 Built in 1945 as the Coastal Messanger
Transferred to the Department of State in 1952
Converted to communications vessel for use in Operation Vagabond
The idea was to broadcast the Voice of America
to countries behind the Iron Curtain
The ship could easily move from hot spot to hot spot as needed
For political reasons, the Navy could not operate the vessel
So the Coast Guard acquired a new mission
22 August 1952 – On station off Rhodes Greece
Originally used a barrage balloon to hold the antenna aloft
After a few balloons sailed over Turkey,
the antenna was attached to the forward mast
July 1964 – operations moved ashore – Courier ordered home
Longest USCGC deployment in history
Served as a Port Security training cutter till 1972
USCGC CG 36500 36′ Motor Life Boat 1952 – 1972 On 18 February 1952 a nor’easter was blowing hard off New England
The tankers Fort Mercer and Pendleton both broke in half
BM1 Bernard Webber, Station Chatham, took CG36500 out
Crew: Andrew Fitzgerald, Richard Livesey, Ervin Maske
Webber saved 33 out of 34 men on the stern of Pendleton
All 4 Coastguardsmen were awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal
CG 36500 is now berthed at Rock Harbor in Orleans, MA
Added to the National Historic Register in 2005
USCGC Alex Haley
(ex USS Edenten
282 Edenton Class
Salvage and Rescue
Ship (ATS)
2000 – Active Commissioned in 1971 as USS Edenton
Acquired by the Coast Guard in 1999
Named for author Alex Haley
Serves in Alaska
Alex Haley joined the Coast Guard in 1939 as a Steward
He developed his writing skills during the Pacific war
After the war he petitioned the Coast Guard to creat
a photojournalist rate
Haley was the first Coast Guard PJ and the first PJ Chief Petty Officer
Haley retired from the Coast Guard in 1959
He worked as an interviewer for Playboy
and had an impressive list of interviewees
His first book was The Autobiography on Malcolm X
In 1976 he published Roots
Haley died in 1992