Photo: USCGC Adak, part of Patrol Forces, South West Asia, note extra machinegun mount behind the pilothouse. Click on the photo to enlarge.
Not long ago we talked about the need to preserve lessons learned from atypical (usually military) Coast Guard operations like participation in the Vietnam War or operations in South West Asia. Craig Allen Jr. brought to my attention a LANTAREA historian’s publication, “Guardians of the Gulf: A History of Coast Guard Combat Operations in Support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2002-2004” (pdf) by William H. Thiesen, PhD, June 2009
Regarding the deployment of WPBs the study noted, “Even though the Coast Guard served a similar mission in Vietnam, there existed no operational plan to provide guidance for OIF planning and preparations.”
If the Coast Guard does not yet have a contingency plan for deployment of patrol vessels there is enough detail to make a fair start on a checklist of things to be done. The experience of the WPBs deployed to the Mediterranean can leave little doubt of the Webber Class’ ability to go almost anywhere, given time to avoid bad weather.
“On May 14, the five cutters (one 378 and four 110s–Chuck) began the return trip; however, this time the smaller cutters followed Dallas across the Atlantic rather than riding on board an MSC vessel. The 5,000-mile voyage set a record as the longest transit ever completed by a 110-foot cutter. The PATFORMED fleet had performed its escort and MIO mission admirably. Moreover, the WPBs in the Mediterranean and the Arabian Gulf had set records for hours of operation with some of them deploying for over thirty days of operation.”
For the future, there might be some advantage in organizing at least a few of the Webber class in deployable divisions (3 units) and squadrons (six units) as discussed earlier, with or without augmentation since there will be several location with three or more WPCs.
perhaps those deployable units could use a mothership to avoid host nation hassles, and provide relief crews as well as logistic support. A nice C4I space would be nice.
Aviation support in the form of some helicopter and UAV facilities would be nice to provide ISR for patrol craft that don’t have organic aviation assets.
Isn’t that part of the idea with the afloat forward staging base?
When the WPBs first got there they took advantage of support from an former Newport class LST in the Australian Navy, I think it was this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMAS_Kanimbla_(L_51)
I’m confused – the study is 2002 to 2004, and the the quote in the post mentions the cutters coming back in company with Dallas… When did they come back? I though those cutters have been deployed continuously since 2002….
Initially there were four 110s and a 378 deployed to the Persian Gulf and four 110s and a 378 (Dallas) deployed to the Mediterranean. The four in the Med plus Dallas were the ones they were talking about. The four 110s in the Persian Gulf stayed and two more joined them.
Got it… I completely forgot about the ones sent to the Med. I’m sure I read about the deployment back then – but only remember the ones being in the Gulf…
Heard at one point a Coast Guard 378 was the only escort for a CVN. Her Navy escorts had detached to move to firing positions for Tomahawk missiles. The carrier’s TACAN was down so the cutter tucked in close astern and provided the TACAN and planeguard for the carrier.
Wow, that’s Semper Paratus!