Unalga, 1946 (WAK 185)

ex-USS Tipton

June 19, 2020 PRINT | E-MAIL

Unalga, 1946

(ex- USS Tipton)
WAK-185; AK-215; MC-2169

An island off Alaska.

Builder: Leatham D. Smith Shipbuilding Company, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

Class: Maritime Commission C1-M-AV1 Type

Length: 338' 9" oa

Beam: 50' 4" max

Draft: 17' 3" max (1966)

Displacement: 5,650 tons fl (1966)

Cost: $2,100,000 

Launched: 13 March 1945

Commissioned: 10 April 1945 (mercantile); 9 October 1945 (USN); 4 March 1946 (USCG)

Decommissioned: 19 June 1950

Disposition: Transferred to the Maritime Commission

Machinery: 1 x two-cycle 6-cylinder Norberg diesel; single screw

SHP: 1,700

Maximum Speed: 10.6 knots; 24,273 mile range

Cruising: 8.0 knots; 27,500 mile range

Complement: 112  

          Detection Radar: SO-4 (1950)

Radio Call Sign: NRCP

Armament: None


Unalga was one of three Maritime Commission C1-M-AV1-type freighters acquired by the Coast Guard after World War II for service in the construction of the many LORAN stations planned for operation around the globe. 

She was launched on 13 March 1945 under a Maritime Commission contract (MC hull 2169) and was transferred to the Navy on 7 September 1945.  She was commissioned USS Tipton (AK-215) on 9 October 1945 under the command of LCDR H. E. Gray, USCGR.  Tipton was manned by a Coast Guard crew.

Tipton was decommissioned on 4 March 1946 and formally commissioned into the Coast Guard that same day as USCGC Unalga (WAK-185).  She was converted for use as a construction supply freighter at the Coast Guard Yard.  After her conversion was complete she was ordered to the Pacific Northwest.

She was stationed at Seattle, Washington.  She was used primarily for the construction of the Alaskan LORAN stations.  On 28 November 1948 she rendered assistance to the M/V Kasilof.  She was decommissioned on 19 January 1950 and was turned over to the Maritime Commission.


Cutter History File.  USCG Historian's Office, USCG HQ, Washington, D.C.

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships.

Robert Scheina.  U.S. Coast Guard Cutters & Craft, 1946-1990.  Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1990.