Cape Newagen, 1955
Builder: Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, MD
Commissioned: 26 September 1955
Decommissioned: 24 September 1982
Disposition: Reportedly transferred to the U.S. Naval Air Station, Point Mugu, California.
Length: 95’ oa; 90’ wl
Navigation Draft: 6’5”
Beam: 20’ max.
Displacement (tons): 105 fl (B)
Main Engines: 4 Cummins VT diesels
Performance, Max. Speed: 18.8 kts.
Performance, Cruising: 9 kts., 3060 mile range (1955)
Fuel Capacity: 3,114 gallons
Complement: 15 (1961)
Sonar: retractable type
Armament: 2 mousetraps, 2 depth charge racks, 1 x 40mm, 2 x .50-cal. machine guns (as completed).
Class History—The 95-foot or Cape class was an outgrowth of a need for shallow-draft anti-submarine-warfare (ASW) craft brought on by the increasing tensions during the years immediately following World War II. During the period of construction, three distinctive sub-classes evolved as the Coast Guard’s mission emphasis shifted from ASW to search and rescue (SAR), The A Type 95-footer was outfitted primarily for ASW. The B Type differed by mounting a 40 mm vice 20 mm gun and being fitted with scramble nets, a towing bit, and a large searchlight – all important SAR tools. The C Type units were constructed without the heavy armament and for economy some of the SAR equipment was also deleted. However, the Coast Guard added these SAR items to both the As and Cs during various refits. A renovation program began in the mid-1970s but was ended, due to increasing expenses and a shortage of funds, after 16 boats had been overhauled.
The 95-footers were designed by the Coast Guard and built at the Coast Guard Yard. Their hulls were made of steel while their superstructures were made of aluminum. This proved to be problematic throughout their service lives due to electrolysis between the dissimilar metals.
These cutters remained unnamed until January of 1964.
The Cape Newagen was stationed at Point Loma, CA, from 1956 to 1968. She was used for law enforcement (LE) and SAR. On 19 May 1966, she rescued seven from a Navy P2V aircraft that had ditched 6 miles south of San Diego, CA.
She was stationed at Maui, HI, from 1969 to 1982, and was used for LE and SAR. On 23 September 1969, she dewatered and towed a disabled tug 6 miles west-southwest of Mahukona Lighthouse, HI.
Cape Newagen made history in April, 1979, when she became the first U.S. “warship” to be commanded by a woman. LTJG Beverly G. Kelley commanded Cape Newagen from April, 1979 until July, 1981.
She was awarded the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation for her SAR activities during “one of the worst winter storms in the history of Maui County” during the period from 8 to 11 January, 1980.
She was decommissioned 24 September 1982 after a brief ceremony at the Coast Guard Base at Sand Island. At that time she was under the command of LTJG David F. Quick. Her crew cross-decked to the Cape Corwin, which replaced the Cape Newagen.
Photo Release Date: 18 April 1972
Cutter History File. USCG Historian's Office, USCG HQ, Washington, D.C.
Robert Scheina. U.S. Coast Guard Cutters & Craft, 1946-1990. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1990.