The Coast Guard Shipbuilding Program, 1964

I recently had an occasion to dig out an article, “Developments and Problems in Coast Guard Cutter Design,” that appeared in the 1964 US Naval Institute Naval Review (published at that time as a separate hard bound book, copyright 1963, United States Naval Institute, Annapolis, MD, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 62-21028) that discussed the then new generation of Coast Guard Cutters.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/23/USCGC_Diligence_WPC-616_stern.jpg

Yes, this was a long time ago, even before I entered the service, but this was a great spasm of ship building, the 82 footers may be gone, but the 210s and 378s designed and built at that time still constitute the majority of our large cutters.

The perspective of the time make an interesting contrast to today’s ship building program. 41 of the 82s had been built, 210s were building, the first three entering service in 1964, and the 378s (referred to as 350′ WPGs) were still in the design phase, with the first, Hamilton, being laid down in 1965 and entering service in ’67.

The article was written by officers intimately involved in defining the requirements and design those ships, Cdr. Robert J. Carlson and LCdr. William F. Tighe. They described the Navy’s ships as old and the Coast Guard’s ships as “ancient.” Somethings don’t seem to change, but in fact the standards were different and, while they were facing block obsolescence,  they were in much better shape than the Coast Guard is now. Continue reading