POINT SLOCUM, 1961 (WPB 82313)

March 17, 2021


WPB 82313

Builder:  Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, MD 

Commissioned:  12 April 1961 

Decommissioned:  11 December 1969 

Disposition: Transferred to South Vietnam as HQ 706 on 11 December 1969 

Length:  82’10” oa, 78’ bp 

Navigation Draft:  5’11” max (1960) 

Beam:  17’7” max 

Displacement:  69 fl; 60 light (1960) 

Main Engines:  2 Cummins diesel (see class history) 

BHP:  1,200 

Performance, Maximum Sustained:  14.5 kts, 577-mi radius (1,200 hp, 1960)
Performance, Economic:  10.7 kts, 1,271-mi radius (1,200 hp, 1960)

Maximum Speed:  16.8 kts (1960) 

Fuel Capacity:  1,840 gal 

Complement:  8 men (1960), 2 officers, 8 men (1965) 


Radar:  SPN-11, CR-103 (1960), or SPS-64 

Armament: 1 x 20mm (1960), 5 x .50 cal mg, 1 x 81 mm mortar (Vietnam service)

Class History—The 82-foot patrol boats have mild steel hulls and aluminum superstructures. Longitudinally framed construction was used to save weight.

These boats were completed with a variety of power plants. 82301 through 82313, 82315 through 82317, and 82319 through 82331 were powered by two Cummins 600-hp diesels. Boats 82318 and 82332 through 82379 received two Cummins 800-hp diesels. The 82314 was fitted with two 1,000-hp gas turbines and controllable-pitch propellers. The purpose of this installation was to permit the service to evaluate the propulsion equipment. All units were eventually fitted with the 800-hp diesels. Units remaining in 1990 were re-equipped with Caterpillar diesels.

WPB 82301 through 82344 were commissioned without names; at that time the Coast Guard did not name patrol craft shorter than 100 feet. In January 1964 they were assigned names.  

Cutter History:

The Point Slocum was stationed at St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, from 1961 to 1965.  She was used for law enforcement and search and rescue operations. 

She was assigned to CG Squadron One, Division 13, Vietnam, from February 1966 to 1969.  Early in the morning of 20 June 1966, while on a routine Market Time patrol, she responded to a radio message from CGC Point League that indicated the cutter was involved in a fierce firefight with an enemy trawler.  The trawler grounded perpendicular to the beach near the mouth of the Co Chien River.  The Point Slocum at this time was under the command of LTJG Barham F. Thomson, III.

The Point Slocum arrived in support and Point League rendezvoused with the Point Hudson to take on more ammunition.  As the Point Slocum approached the grounded trawler, she took fire from the beach.  Air units in the area requested that the Point Slocum make parallel runs to the beach to draw enemy fire and she complied, taking small arms fire.  One round exploded the powder bags on two HE projectile rounds, wounding one crewman (BMC Davis).  After repeated air strikes on the trawler and the shoreline, the enemy's return fire diminished.  Soon after dawn the trawler exploded, probably from an scuttling charge set by her crew.

The cutters then approached the now burning trawler but took enemy fire from the beach line.  Air strikes were again called in and the Point Hudson and two coastal group command junks arrived in the area.  Firefighting teams were dispatched to the trawler.  The Point Slocum then rendezvoused with the USS Haverfield (DE-393) to drop off the wounded crewman and to pick a CDR Baird (COMCORTRON FIVE) and a Seventh Fleet correspondent and returned to the area.  After numerous attempts, including having the cutter lay close aboard the trawler, the fires were extinguished.  The Point Slocum then returned to the Haverfield to pick up a damage control party and again returned to the trawler.  The cutters then attempted to tow the smoking hulk off the beach but with the tide falling they were unsuccessful.  The Point Slocum proceeded back to the Haverfield to return her damage control party and gear.  She then resumed her patrol.  LTJG Thomson was awarded the Silver Star for his actions.

The Point Slocum was decommissioned and transferred to South Vietnam as HQ 706 on 11 December 1969.  Her ultimate fate is unknown.


Cutter History File.  USCG Historian's Office, USCG HQ, Washington, D.C.

Alex Larzelere.  The Coast Guard at War: Vietnam, 1965-1975.  Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1997.

Robert Scheina.  U.S. Coast Guard Cutters & Craft, 1946-1990.  Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1990.

Paul C. Scotti.  Coast Guard Action in Vietnam: Stories of Those Who Served. Central Point, OR: Hellgate Press, 2000.