“Coast Guard Cutter Forward and Coast Guard Cutter Bear, homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia, finish an at-sea transfer while underway on a two-month patrol. Coast Guard Cutter Forward returned to homeport on April 10, 2021.” (U.S. Coast Guard photo)
Recently I had to look up homeports of WMECs. I found that there did not seem to be a single comprehensive up to date list. Seemed it might be useful to share the list. I have added the Bertholf class and what we know about the basing of the Offshore Patrol Cutters as well. These are not district assets, but I found it convenient to group them by homeport district. The numbers in parenthesis are the hull numbers. First some observations.
The intent is to split the Bertholf class, almost evenly between the Atlantic and Pacific Areas: five (45%) to LANTAREA and six (55%) to PACAREA.
The vast majority of medium endurance cutters are assigned to LANTAREA. All 100% of the 270s and 24 (86%) of 28 total.
Despite the fact that the vast majority of the US EEZ and territorial sea (84%) falls under the Pacific Area Commander, the vast majority of large patrol cutters are based in the Atlantic Area. This is, at least in part, due to the Alien Migrant and Drug interdiction missions. It is counter intuitive, but Charleston, SC is closer to the Eastern Pacific Drug transit zones than San Diego, CA.
Once the first four OPCs reach their bases in San Pedro and Kodiak, the Pacific Area will once again have ten “high endurance cutters,” as they did before recapitalization began.
WHO BUILT THEM?:
The entire Bertholf class has been built by Huntington Ingalls of Pascagoula, MS. The lead ship was laid down in 2005 and commssioned in August 2008. The tenth is expected to be delivered 2023. The eleventh, maybe 2024.
The Bear class WMEC270s were built by two different builders. The first four ships (901-904) were built by Tacoma Boatbuilding, Tacoma, WA, with Bear laid down in August, 1979 and the last of the four commissioned in December, 1984. The remaining nine were built by Derecktor Shipbuilding, Middleton, RI. The first of these laid down June, 1982, and the last of the nine completed in March 1990.
The 16 Reliance class WMEC210s were built by four different builders, with the first laid down in May 1963 and the last commissioned August 1969, less than six years and three months later.
- The first three, 615-617, were built by Todd Shipyards, Houston, TX.
- The fourth, 618, by Christy Corp., Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
- Five, 619, 620, and 628-630, were built at the Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, MD.
- Seven, 621-627, were built by American Shipbuilding, Lorain, OH.
WMEC 622 and 628 have since been transferred to Sri Lanka and Colombia respectively. All underwent a major maintenance availability at the Coast Guard Yard between 1984 and 1998.
THE FORCE LAYDOWN:
FIRST DISTRICT: 2 WMEC270s
- US Naval Shipyard Portsmouth, Kittery, ME: two WMEC270s: Tahoma (908), Campbell (909)
FIFTH DISTRICT: 9 WMEC270s, 2 WMEC210s
- Portsmouth, VA: 9 WMEC270s: Bear (901), Escanaba (907), Forward (911), Harriet Lane (903, currently in SLEP at CG Yard), Legare (912), Northland (904), Seneca (906) , Spencer (905), Tampa (902)
- Virginia Beach, VA: WMEC210s: Dependable (626), Vigorous (627)
SEVENTH DISTRICT: 3 National Security Cutters (2 more under construction), 2 WMEC270s, 5 WMEC210s
- Charleston, SC: 3 NSCs: Hamilton (753), James (754), Stone (758), (two more NSCs building: Calhoun (759), Friedman (760))
- Naval Station Mayport: 1 WMEC210: Valiant (621)
- Cape Canaveral: 2 WMEC210s: Confidence (619), Vigilant (617)
- Key West: 2 WMEC270s: Mohawk (913), Thetis (910)
- St. Petersburg: 2 WMEC210s: Resolute (620), Venturous (625)
EIGHTH DISTRICT: 4 WMEC210s
- Pensacola: WMEC210s: Dauntless (624), Decisive (629), Diligence (616), Reliance (615)
ELEVENTH DISTRICT: 4 National Security Cutters
- Alameda, CA: 4 NSCs: Bertholf (750), Waesche (751), Stratton (752), Munro (755)
THIRTEENTH DISTRICT: 3 WMEC210s
- Astoria, OR: 2 WMEC210s: Alert (630), Steadfast (623)
- Port Angeles, WA: 1 WMEC210: Active (618)
FOURTEENTH DISTRICT: 2 National Security Cutters
- Honolulu, HI: 2 NSCs: Kimball (756), Midgett (757)
- Kodiak, AK: 1 WMEC283: Alex Haley (WMEC-39)
OFFSHORE PATROL CUTTER HOMEPORTS
We have heard where the first six OPCs are expected to be homeported.
- Argus (915) and Chase (916) will go to San Pedro, CA
- Ingham (917) and Rush (918) will go to Kodiak, AK
- Pickering (919) and Icarus (920) will go to Newport, RI