Cook Inlet, 1949
Radio call sign: NYLW
Builder: Lake Washington Shipyards, Houghton, WA
Commissioned: 5 Nov 1944 (USN); loaned to USCG 20 September 1948
15 Jan 1949 (USCG); permanently transferred to USCG 26 September 1966.
Decommissioned: 21 Dec 1971; transferred to South Vietnam
PARTICULARS, AS OF 1966:
Length: 309' 10 1/8"oa; 298’ 11 1/8”bp
Navigation Draft: 12' 6" full load
Beam: 41’ max
Displacement: 2,528.7 tons fl
Main Engines: Fairbanks-Morse, direct reversing diesels
Performance, Maximum Sustained: 19.4 kts, 12,500 nautical mile range
Performance, Economic: 10.5 kts, 20,800 nautical mile range
Complement: 10 officers, 3 warrants, 138 men
Electronics: Radar: SPS-23, SPS-29B; SPS-4B; SPS-52
Armament: 1 x 5”/38 Mk 30-70; 1 x Mk 52 GFCS director; 1 x Mk 26 Mod 1 fire control radar; 1 x Mk 10 Mod 1 A/S projector; 2 x Mk 32 Mod 5 torpedo tubes;
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 and an oceanographic winch were added.
See DANFS for naval service.
Cook Inlet was stationed at Portland, ME, from 15 January 1949 to 21 December 1971 and used for law enforcement, ocean station, and search and rescue operations in the Atlantic.
On 12 October 1953, she received a medical patient from the Chambers. She received the Navy Expeditionary Medal for participating in the “Cuban operation,” more commonly known as the Cuban blockade, from 22 to 23 October 1962. She took part in the cadet cruise of August 1965. On 28 January 1966, the Cook Inlet rescued survivors in a swamped P/C. Between 3 and 8 February 1966, she escorted the distressed Liberian M/V Arion to Bermuda. On 8 January 1968, she medevaced a crewman from the Swedish M/V California. The Cook Inlet was assigned to Coast Guard Squadron Three, Vietnam, from 2 July to 21 December 1971.
She was decommissioned and transferred to South Vietnam as Tran Quoc Toan. She fled to the Philippines at the fall of South Vietnam, but did not actively serve. Rather, she was used for spares and was ultimately disposed of in 1982.
Cook Inlet, 31 January 1949. Original Coast Guard Photo - 5523. Original caption reads: "One of several former Navy seaplane tenders acquired by the U.S. Coast Guard following World War II, the Coast Guard Cutter COOK INLET performs Ocean Weather Station duty in the North Atlantic from her home port, Portland, Maine. Ocean Station Vessels spend many days at sea within a prescribed area or "station," 10 miles square, carrying Weather Bureau personnel on board to record data gathered in regular observations for dissemination to the world. Search and rescue services, in emergency cases, and the providing of communication service for air and surface navigators also are part of the Ocean Station Vessel's duty."
Cook Inlet, color photo, no date/caption [1960?]
Cook Inlet, Cutter Subject File, USCG Historian's Office
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Vol. II (1963), p. 182.
"Listings: AVP's"; compiled and written by LCDR J. P. Smith, USCGR, copy in 311’ Class Cutter File, USCG Historian’s Office.
Olsen, A. L., Jr., Commander. Senior Coast Guard Officer, Philippines. Report: “Ships returned from Viet Nam: Preliminary Inspection Ex-WAVP/WHEC”, 1975, 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 Cook Inlet, 4 March 1966.
U.S Coast Guard. M1650.25D: Medals & Awards Manual. (Washington, DC: USCG, May, 2008).