USCGC Chase (WHEC-718)

USCGC Chase (WHEC-718)

USCGC "Chase" (WHEC-718) was laid down on October 26, 1966 at Avondale Shipyards Inc. located in New Orleans, Louisiana. "Chase" was launched on May 20, 1967 and commissioned on March 11, 1968. "Chase" is the fourth of twelve Hamilton Class, convert|378|ft|m|0|sing=on cutters in the United States Coast Guard, and the third cutter named in honor of Salmon Portland Chase.

Salmon Portland Chase served as President Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury from 1861 to 1864. He is best remembered for his efforts in organizing a then, disorganized Treasury Department. He was able provide Lincoln with the funding his administration needed to prosecute the Civil War, and to preserve the Union.


"Chase" is designed as a "high endurance" cutter. Her crossing range of convert|9600|nmi|km|-2 at convert|20|kn|km/h|-1, and convert|80|ft|m|0|sing=on flight deck, capable of handling both Coast Guard and Navy helicopters, make the "Chase" an ideal platform for extended patrol missions. Her missions include enforcement of all U.S. maritime laws and treaties, fisheries conservation, marine pollution response, defense readiness, and search and rescue. "Chase" was one of the first naval vessels built with a combined diesel and gas turbine propulsion plant. "Chase’s" engineering plant includes two 3,500 horsepower diesel engines, and two 18,000 horsepower gas turbines, which can achieve a top speed of convert|28|kn|km/h|0. Two convert|13|ft|m|0|sing=on diameter controllable pitch propellers, combined with a retractable and rotatable bow propulsion unit, give "Chase" high maneuverability. "Chase’s" capabilities are enhanced by advanced air search and surface search radars including the AN/SPS-73 digital surface radar system that incorporates a state of the art computerized collision avoidance system. "Chase" uses the Shipboard Command and Control System (SCCS) which uses a network of computers including large screen displays and a dedicated satellite network for communications. A closed circuit TV system will enable the Commanding Officer to monitor flight deck operations, machinery conditions, towing, damage control, and related activities from the bridge.

Vietnam and the 1970s

After being commissioned in 1968, "Chase" participated in Operation Market Time. From December 1969 to May 1970, under Commander, Task Force 115, "Chase" participated in more than twelve gunfire support missions in the Vietnam War. For her service, "Chase" was awarded the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation and Vietnam Service Medal. "Chase" visited the ports of Subic Bay, Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Kao-Hsiung (Taiwan) on this patrol. In June 1970, "Chase" returned to her homeport in Boston, Massachusetts transiting the Panama Canal.

Between September 1970 and December 1972, "Chase" assumed Ocean Station duties at various times on the Charlie, Delta and Echo stations. During this period "Chase" visited ports such as Guanatanamo Bay, Cuba and Kingston, Jamaica. In 1972 "Chase" transited the Arctic Circle, and visited England, Denmark, Norway, and Portugal.

In 1973, as part of a Destroyer-Cruiser Flotilla, "Chase" participated in Operation Seaconex (COMCRUDESFLOT TWO). On this operation, "Chase" transited the Straits of Gibraltar, and visited Portugal and Morocco. Between the years of 1970 and 1974, "Chase" conducted three or four Search and Rescue cases daily while on various Ocean Station duties.

Between the years of 1974 to 1978, "Chase" continued to patrol the waters of the Atlantic. "Chase" visited Italy, Spain, Ireland, and France. In 1980, "Chase" was back in the U.S., on scene at the America’s Cup in Newport, Rhode Island. In 1982, "Chase" participated in "Safe Pass 1982," a member of the Fleet Composite Operational Readiness Group


From October 1983 to July 1984, "Chase" served the mission of defense readiness by participating in the U.S. invasion of Grenada. For her service, "Chase" received the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal. Until March 1988, "Chase" continued to display her versatility in performing all Coast Guard missions. "Chase" repatriated more than 338 migrants during its Haitian Migration Interdiction Ops (HMIO) between the January 1985 and March 1988, and also conducted many drug interdiction operations.

In 1989, "Chase" was temporarily decommissioned and entered Bath Ironworks Shipyard in Portland, Maine, to undergo the Fleet Renovation and Modernization (FRAM) program. At Bath, "Chase" was virtually torn apart and reassembled with substantial improvements to many of her systems. Approximately seventy five percent of the shipboard electronics have been changed out or modified; a third of the existing engineering systems have been overhauled or replaced; and major internal space reconfigurations have improved the ship’s "livability."


On March 22, 1991, "Chase" returned after completing FRAM, and was recommissioned. After 23 years of service in Boston, Massachusetts, the Mayor of Boston proclaimed October 14, 1991, as "Chase" Appreciation Day." "Chase" was to depart for her new homeport of San Pedro, California.

"Chase" arrived at her new homeport of San Pedro, California on November 15, 1991. Within a year, "Chase" continued to lead the Coast Guard and represent the U.S. On September 22, 1992, "Chase" visited Vladivostok, Russia, serving as the host for the historic reopening of the American Consulate. In 1994, "Chase" led U.S. Forces into Port-au-Prince Harbor, Haiti and established the first Harbor Defense Command in foreign territorial waters. During this period, "Chase" participated in Operation Able Manner/Vigil in Haiti. "Chase" interdicted 130 Cuban asylum seekers. In 1995, "Chase" boarded the M/V "Xin Ji Li Hou" off the coast of Baja California, Mexico, and interdicted 150 Chinese migrants. Between April to June 1997, "Chase" was leading the way again by being the first Coast Guard cutter to participate in Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT 97) held in Southeast Asia. "Chase" worked with the Royal Thai Navy and visited Singapore, Songklha and Pattaya, Thailand. "Chase" received the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation from Vice Admiral Card for the boarding and custody exchange of the high seas driftnet vessel CAO YU. In 1998, "Chase" departed with the USS|Russell|DDG-59, USS|Crommelin|FFG-37, and the USS|O'Brien|DD-975 for Military Interdiction Operations (MIO) in the Persian Gulf. During this patrol, the "Chase" diverted four vessels in violation of United Nations Sanctions against Iraq, interdicted 1,527,740 gallons of fuel-oil, and conducted eighty-six gunnery exercises.

In 1999, "Chase" seized seven metric tons of cocaine, then the second largest cocaine bust in Coast Guard history. Also on this patrol, "Chase" was also the first U.S. military ship to pull into Corinto, Nicaragua, in over thirty years.

In August 1999, "Chase" arrived at its new homeport in San Diego, California. There, "Chase" earned an overall EXCELLENT during its Tailored Ship’s Training Availability, and was awarded the Distinguished Coast Guard Battle “E” Ribbon. The "Chase" has constantly proven to be an integral part of the Coast Guard and a leader among the fleet.

External links

* [ "Chase" home page]

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