Humboldt, 1949 (WHEC-372)

Jan. 31, 2021

Humboldt, 1949

Photo of Humboldt

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


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

BHP:  6,250 

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
                     Sonar: SQS-1

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; 

Class History:

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.

Cutter History:

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.


Photo of Humboldt

CGC Humboldt, 30 October 1963, no caption/photo number; photographer unknown.

Photo of Humboldt

Humboldt, 9 May 1969, no caption.
Photo number 050969-1; photographer unknown.

Photo of Humboldt

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.