USCGC Klamath (WHEC-66)
USCGC Klamath (WHEC-66) was an Owasco class high endurance cutter built for World War II service with the United States Coast Guard. The war ended before the ship was completed and consequently Klamath did not see wartime service until the Vietnam War.
USCGC Klamath (WHEC-66), 28 February 1966
|Namesake:||Klamath Lake, Oregon|
|Builder:||Western Pipe & Steel|
|Yard number:||WPS 153|
|Laid down:||December 1944|
|Commissioned:||Sept. 5 1946|
|Decommissioned:||1 May 1973|
|Reclassified:||WPG-66 to WHEC-66|
|Fate:||Scrapped 18 November 1974|
|Notes:||WPS Hull No. 153.|
|Class and type:||Owasco-class cutter|
|Displacement:||1,342 light (1966), 1,978 fully loaded (1966)|
|Beam:||43 ft 1 in|
|Draft:||17 ft 3" (1966)|
|Ice class:||Ice Breaker Bow|
|Propulsion:||1 x Westinghouse electric motor driven by a turbine, shaft horsepower 4,000 (1945)|
|Range:||6,157-mile radius @17 knots, 10,376 mile radius @10 knots (1966)|
|Complement:||Crew: 10 officers, 3 warrants, 130 men (1966)|
|Armament:||1960's: 1 x 5 in (130 mm)/38; Hedgehog; 2 x Mk 32 ASW TT|
Klamath was built by Western Pipe & Steel at the company's San Pedro shipyard. Named after Klamath Lake, Oregon, she was commissioned as a patrol gunboat with ID number WPG-66 on 19 June 1946. Her ID was later changed to WHEC-66 (HEC for "High Endurance Cutter" - the "W" signifies a Coast Guard vessel).
Klamath was homeported at Seattle, Washington, from 19 June 1946 to 1 May 1973. She was used for law enforcement, ocean station, and search and rescue operations in the Pacific. Additionally, she also conducted Bering Sea Patrol annually.
From 20 to 24 March 1966, she inspected the Soviet MV Olyturka, which had sought haven in U.S. waters following a casualty. On 25 March 1966, the Japanese FV's Bansho Maru No. 38 and Tenyo Maru No. 3 were discovered in U.S. waters and escorted out.
January 1972, Klamath was dispatched from Alaskan patrol to render assistance to the Japanese freighter Tenzan Maru, which was taking on water 800 miles west of Seattle. Klamath crew boarded the Tenzan Maru and installed temporary repairs, then escorted the freighter to San Francisco.
Klamath was assigned to Coast Guard Squadron Three, South Vietnam, from 14 May 1969 to 31 January 1970.
Return to peacetime duties
In February 1972, a boarding party from Klamath helped save the badly damaged MV Tenzan Maru and she was subsequently escorted to safety.
Klamath was decommissioned on 1 May 1973 and was sold for scrap on 18 November 1974.
- Klamath WHEC-66, United States' Coast Guard website.
- Scheina, Robert L.: U.S. Coast Guard Cutters & Craft of World War II Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1981, pp. 1–3.
- Scheina, Robert L.: U.S. Coast Guard Cutters & Craft, 1946-1990 Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1990, pp. 18–26.