Radio call sign: NEJL
The Humboldt was named for a bay on the northern coast of California, some 250 miles north of San Francisco.
Builder: Boston Naval Shipyard, Boston, MA
Commissioned: 7 October 1941 (USN); loaned to USCG 24 January 1949
29 March 1949 (USCG); permanently transferred to USCG 26 September 1966
Decommissioned: 30 September 1969; sold for scrap
PARTICULARS, AS OF 1966:
Length: 311’ 7 3/4” oa; 300' 0" bp
Navigation Draft: 12' 9" max
Beam: 41’ max
Displacement: 2,498 fl
Main Engines: Fairbanks-Morse, direct reversing diesels
Performance, Maximum Sustained: 17.3 kts, 10,138-mi radius (1966)
Performance, Economic: 10.0 kts, 20,000-mi radius (1966)
Complement: 10 officers, 3 warrants, 138 men
Electronics: Radar: SPS-23, SPS-29B
Armament: 1 x 5”/38 Mk 12; 1 x Mk 52 director; 1 x Mk 26 fire control radar; 1 x Mk 10 Mod 0 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.
Humboldt was stationed in Boston, MA from 29 March 1949 to September of 1966. She was used for law enforcement, ocean station, and search and rescue operations in the Atlantic Ocean.
From September 1966 through 30 September 1969, Humboldt was homeported in Portland, ME. On 29 October 1968, Humboldt rescued the crew from S/V Atlantic II in the Atlantic.
After being decommissioned, Humboldt was struck from the Naval Register and sold for scrap to Cantieri Navali, Santa Maria, Italy, for bid amount of $60,000.
CGC Humboldt, 30 October 1963, no caption/photo number; photographer unknown.
Humboldt, 9 May 1969, no caption.
Photo number 050969-1; photographer unknown.
Humboldt, no caption/date/photo number; photographer unknown.
Humboldt, Cutter Subject File, USCG Historian's Office.
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, Vol. III (1968), p. 393.
"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 Humboldt, 26 September 1966.