FRC=WPC

When the new Bernard C. Webber class Fast Response Cutters are commissioned, I hope we will use the traditional designation for this type, “WPC” rather than “WFRC.” The “PC” type designation is widely recognized. Using “WFRC” would have people outside the CG (and probably more than one inside) scratching their heads.

There is a long history of WPCs in the Coast Guard. Currently we have the three WPCs of the Cyclone Class that were originally built for the Navy, that are virtually the same displacement as the Webber class. More importantly, before that, we had the  33 units of the 125 ft Active class, and the 17 units of the 165 ft Thetis Class like the Icarus and Triton, that were also the same size as the Webber Class.

PCs are typically a bit larger than PBs, making them clearly distinct from the 87 ft WPBs and the 110s WPBs  that will remain in the fleet until replaced.

It may seem trivial, but this is about both a historical link to successful cutters of the past and the integrity of a designation system that goes back almost 100 years.

10 thoughts on “FRC=WPC

  1. I concur. If the CG approaches these cutters as just another WPB crews will be set up for failure. This is a large vessel relative to most of our WPB experience. Concurrently we have vastly increased the number at the smaller (87′) end as we replaced the 82′ WPB. We have more PB sailors now than ever. They will have to adapt and learn what you can and can’t do with the FRC. Beyond the historical connection, there is plenty of data to back up your comments concerning size and capability differences in differing size vessels. Additionally, both the US naval and NATO naval designations support typing the FRC as a WPC. A decision memo circa 2004 was drafted for all the classes then included in DW. FRC=WPC

    • Matt Gimple said, “A decision memo circa 2004 was drafted for all the classes then included in DW. FRC=WPC”

      I presume that mean the decision was to designate them WPCs?

  2. Chuck,

    The “Buck and a Quarter” was a WSC. The 165′ was a WPC and both were designated submarine chasers.

    • A bit more information from “Conways’s All the World’s Fighting Ships, 1922-1946.” The 125s are listed as WPC125-157, but there is a note, “In World War II they were reclassified as subchasers (WSC), although they were in fact considerably slower than the new 110 ft wooden type. “

  3. Question, How dose the US Coast Guards FRC and the WPB, stack up to our NATO Allies and what capabilities dose our WPB and FRC have that are comparable to what our NATO Allies are doing.

  4. Bill, as always, you keep me on my toes. My understanding is that the original designation for the 125s was WPC and that it was changed during the War to WSC. (See the link for Active) At that time both designations did referred to subchasers with the SC classes being smaller than the PC. Since then the PC designation has morphed and now refers simply to “Patrol Craft” without necessarily an ASW mission as in the Cyclone Class.

    You did prompt me to do a little fact checking. In the CG Historians list of cutters (http://www.uscg.mil/history/webcutters/CUTTERLIST.asp#Q) I was able to confirm that 125s Vigilant and Travis were designated WPCs in 1942. I also found this listing, http://www.shipbuildinghistory.com/history/smallships/uscgcutters.htm, which shows the 125s as WSCs but also list their 13 immediate predecessors of the 100ft Corwin Class as WPCs. Three of these survived in the Coast Guard long enough to serve in WWII as WAGLs 160,161,162, Forward, Phlox, and Pine (ex-Petrel).

    I was also a little surprised to find (on the CG Historians list) that apparently all the 210s were originally designated WPC. That makes perfect sense though, since they were replacing WPCs.

    I also found some more PC that served in the CG: four WWI SCs redesignated WPC, Belleville, Boone, Blaze, and Bowstring that served in WWII; PCE(R) 858 and 860, renamed and redesignated Jackson (WPC-120) and Bedloe (WPC-121) that replaced two 125s that sank in a Hurricane in 1944; and Hydrofoils High Point and Flagstaff.

  5. Question, How dose the US Coast Guards FRC and the WPB, stack up to our NATO Allies and what capabilities dose our WPB and FRC have that are comparable to what our NATO Allies are doing.

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