Radio call sign: NICB
The Casco was named for a bay on the coast of Maine.
Builder: Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Puget Sound, WA
Commissioned: 27 Dec 1941 (USN)
19 Apr 1949 (USCG)
Decommissioned: 21 Mar 1969; Transferred to USN; expended as a target
PARTICULARS, AS OF 1964
Length: 310' 6 3/4" oa; 299’ 11”bp
Navigation Draft: 13’1” max
Beam: 41’ max
Displacement: 2,528.72 fl
Main Engines: Fairbanks-Morse, direct reversing diesels
Performance, Maximum Sustained: 17.4 kts, 10,138-nautical mile range
Performance, Economic: 12.4 kts, 20,000-nautical mile range
Complement: 10 officers, 3 warrants, 138 men
Electronics: Radar: SPS-23, SPS-29B
Armament: 1 x 5”/38; 1 x Mk 10-1 A/S projector;
The Casco class ships were built as small seaplane tenders by the US Navy. They were designed to operate out of small harbors and atolls and had a shallow draft. The fact that the class was very seaworthy, had good habitability, and long range made them well suited to ocean-station duty. In fact, an assessment made by the Coast Guard on the suitability of these vessels for Coast Guard service noted:
"The workmanship on the vessel is generally quite superior to that observed on other vessels constructed during the war. The vessel has ample space for stores, living accommodations, ships, offices and recreational facilities. The main engine system is excellent. . . .The performance of the vessel in moderate to heavy seas is definitely superior to that of any other cutter. This vessel can be operated at higher speed without storm damage than other Coast Guard vessels." [Memo, CDR W. C. Hogan, Commanding Officer, CGC MC CULLOCH to Commandant “SUBJ; CGC MC CULLOCH, Sutiability [sic] for use as CG Cutter.”, 12 February 1947; copy in 311-Class Cutter File, USCG Historian’s Office.]
Once they were accepted into Coast Guard service, a number of changes were made in these ships to prepare them for ocean-station duty. A balloon shelter was added aft; there were spaces devoted to oceanographic equipment and a hydrographic winch as well as an oceanographic winch were added.
See DANFS for naval service.
The Casco was homeported in Boston, MA for the duration of her life in the Coast Guard. The cutter partook in ocean station, law enforcement, and search and rescue operations in the Atlantic Ocean.
On 22 August 1949, the Casco rescued the crew of F/V Magellan and saved the sinking vessel. On 23 January 1950, Casco towed the disabled F/V Wamsutta from 86 miles north of Nantucket to Boston. On 26 August 1950, Casco personnel medevaced a crewman from the Greek M/V Igor 360 miles northeast of Bermuda. On 24 November 1954, Casco towed the disabled F/V Sea Ranger.
On 17 February 1956, the ship’s crew rescued 21 from a disabled USN seaplane that had ditched 100 miles south of Bermuda, and towed the plane to St. George’s Harbor, Bermuda. On 20 October 1958, a crewman from M/V Maye Lykes was medevaced. From 1 August to 19 August 1963, the Casco conducted oceanographic experiments between South America and Africa in cooperation with eastern universities and international agencies. The Casco helped fight the fire on Long Wharf, Boston, on 27 March 1968.
After her decommissioning and return to the Navy in 1969, she was struck from the Naval Register and expended as target.
Casco, circa 1952, no caption.
Casco, circa 1969. Coast Guard photo 1CGD-01-23-69 (01); original caption reads: "Escorted by a plane, the 311-foot U.S. Coast Guard Cutter CASCO departs her homeport at Boston, Mass., to make her last ocean station weather patrol in the North Atlantic."
Casco, Cutter Subject File, USCG Historian's Office
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Vol. II (1963), pp. 45-46.
"Listings: AVP's"; compiled and written by LCDR J. P. Smith, USCGR, copy in 311’ Class Cutter File, USCG Historian’s Office.
Memo, CDR W. C. Hogan, Commanding Officer, CGC MC CULLOCH to Commandant “SUBJ; CGC MC CULLOCH, Sutiability [sic] for use as CG Cutter.”, 12 February 1947; copy in 311-Class Cutter File, USCG Historian’s Office.
Robert Scheina, U.S. Coast Guard Cutters & Craft, 1946-1990 (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1990), pp. 10-16.
Ship's Characteristics Card: USCGC Casco, 7 October 1964.