Coast Guard Manned Frigates in WWII

Here is a little article (unfortunately this link is now broken) about an ordinary Coastie’s experience in WWII that, in addition to having a cute dog story, includes reference to a little remembered program that resulted in the Coast Guard manning 75 Tacoma Class Patrol frigates (PFs), beginning in October 1943. These ships were adaptations of the British “River” Class, a design similar in purpose to Destroyer Escorts, but built to merchant standards by the Maritime Commission.

The ships were 2238 tons full load, 304 feet in length, with a 36’6′ beam and 12’8″ draft. They were steam powered and used triple expansion reciprocating engines for 5,500 HP and a speed of 20 knots. They had a range of 9500 nmi at 12 knots. The ships were typically armed with three 3″/50s, two twin 40mms, nine 20mms, a “hedgehog” multiple ASW mortar, depth charges, and eight depth charge projectors (K-Guns).

Twenty-three of the class were converted to serve as weather ships with the aft 3″/50 replaced by a balloon shelter and the crew reduced from 190 to 176. They replaced Coast Guard manned merchant ships that had been providing the service previously.

The battle, with subsequent rescue, referred to in the article, was the Battle off Samar, an inspiring story, worth a look if you are not familiar with it.

27 thoughts on “Coast Guard Manned Frigates in WWII

  1. I was a signalman on the USS Corpus Christi based in
    Fremantle Australia1944-1946. I had a WWII memoir on the internet but can’t find it anymore.
    William Sprague

  2. The Corpus Christie rescued 96 survivors after the sinking of the liberty ship Pete Sylvester in the Indian Ocean about 500 miles west of Australia. I have made many attempts to locate some of those survivors with no results. Probably none still alive and there very few around from the Corpus Christie.

    • Mr. Sprague. I served on the USS Kretchmer DER-329 during the Vietnam war. The were refitted a couple time but were the old WW 2 DE’s, similar to the CG Frigates. I am viisiting my father Frank Kolb in CA who was a survivor of the sinking of the Peter Sylvester and was rescued after 7 days by the USS Corpus Christie. At 90 years of age he is at least one survivor.
      We both thank you and your shipmates for your efforts that day!!!

    • my dad was a survivor of the ss peter Sylvester and he is alive today he will be ninty years old this march and he is trying to find information on the survivors if any are alive today—he has spoke to one survivor Frank Kolb but would like to know if there are anymore of the survivors alive —-my dads name is glenwood skaggs his lives in Missouri please let me know if you have any information on this

      • Miss Peggy,
        I was a Seaman on the U. S. S. Corpus Christi during the rescue of men on the Peter Sylvester. I have pictures on the rescue, if ypu would like them.

      • Buried William Lowel Sprague few weeks ago in Jamestown, RI. He was a Signalman on board the Corpus Christi, and spoke of the SS sylvester. Only

  3. Still trying to get in touch with Bob Kolb. I have informati0n and pictures of the Corpus
    Christi rescue of 96 survivors of the Peter Sylvester. {Please contact me by my Email:
    B Sprague

  4. I have emailed Bill Sprague and hope to get in touch with him.
    I also mentioned a book LIBERTY SHIP SURVIVOR by Joseph Mazzara about the experience of Ray Laenen.

  5. Harvey Anger (San Gabriel Valley,CA.) was aboard an AK ship in WW-2,if anyone knew him please contact because he has Alchimrez

  6. I was on the USS Allentown PF 51, I am looking for any stories from the pacific theater guys. I would also like to get any pictures of the the frigates in combat or any on board photos for my kids and grandkids to see.

  7. Jerry Thompson. You are looking for crew info on AK-94 Mintaka. I am the son of a crew member (Bill Pratt). I am attempting to collect as much information as possible on Mintaka events based on information my dad is able to provide. I have numerous photos of the ship and people on the ship, many annotated with names. If interested in replying please follow-up here.

    • Hi my father Joseph Howard Lee was a crew member on the USS Mintaka I have a beautifully framed picture of the ship and also a framed Imperium Ngptvni Regis a call to all mermaids with the ships name. Also a photo of all the crew members. I know how proud I was of my father. He lost his brother Robert Lee who was in the army in Luzon. How grateful we all should be for all are service men.

  8. Pingback: Cutter Class Names and Descriptors -

  9. Cool Blog, Bill Sprague is a friend of mine. Many Coasties here in RI not far from New Port. I retired from the reserves a few years back form Boston. George Silve, Tom Cer, Merril Slate, Richard Hubbell, Mario Tomolini, Greg Isabel, Tom Bartolini, Dave Blair….all Coasties, all great guys. Many more not mentioned. late uncle Ed makowiec USCG/USMC sailor on CGC Campbel WW-2, often spoke of Rasin Jack…

  10. Pingback: Names for First Eleven OPCs Announced | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

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