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WMEC 213' Diver Class

The last of the Diver Class Coast Guard Cutters was originally commissioned as the USS Shackle (ARS 9), a salvage ship, in 1944, the Acushnet was commissioned as a Coast Guard Cutter in 1946, and was eventually joined by two other vessels of the same design, the Escape (ex-ARS 6) and the Yocona (ex-Seize ARS 26). The Acushnet was orignially commissioned as a tug, was redesignated a research vessel in 1971, and later redesignated again as a medium endurance cutter in 1978.

While both of the Acushnet's sisterships have been decommissioned, the Acushnet continues to serve as a medium endurance cutter in Alaska. Previous plans would have brought all of the cutters out of service by the mid-1990s but Coast Guard policy reviews continue to extend the service-life of the ship as suitable replacements have not been procured.

The Acushnet's operational history is lengthy, having participated in the salvage effort (as the Shackle) at Pearl Harbor and then later at Midway Island, the salvage ship also played active roles in the battles over Iwo Jima and Okinawa. During World War II the it earned three battle stars.

As a Coast Guard cutter the Acushnet has had five homeports, Pearl Harbor, HI; Portland, Maine; Gulfport, Miss; Eureka, CA; and is currently at Ketchikan, AK.

Acushnet's first homeport as a Coast Guard Cutter was Portland, Maine, where it earned a valiant reputation as a dependable friend to fishermen and boaters in distress. In 1968, Acushnet was transferred to San Diego, California, to assist the Scripp's Institute of Oceanography. In 1977, Acushnet was moved once again, this time to Gulfport, Miss. From 1971 to 1978, Acushnet assisted the National Data Buoy Center as a WAGO, or oceanographic vessel. In 1979, Acushnet was reclassified as a WMEC and served until 1990 primarily to enforce maritime laws in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Acushnet also executed other duties, such as environmental protection, boating safety, search and rescue, and participated in Sealift 1980, the Cuban refugee crisis.

In 1990, the Acushnet returned to the North Pacific, and was stationed in Eureka, Calif. The Acushnet patrolled the West Coast from the southern waters of California to the northern waters of the Bering Sea. Acushnet finally changed homeport to Ketchikan, Alaska, in 1998. Now in Ketchikan, the Acushnet patrols almost exclusively in Alaskan waters. Acushnet has proven its longevity and dependability over many years of service to the maritime community. It is now the sole remaining 213-foot class cutter in the Coast Guard.

The Acushnet is credited with handling the Alaskan environment more effectively than other cutters though it does lack a flight deck which would simplify replenishment and search and rescue efforts. Though numerous modifications and refits to the ship have taken place over the last half-century, the Acushnet still uses an engine-order-telegraph system to control engine speeds.



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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 13:00:58 ZULU