USCGC Basswood (WLB-388)

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USCGC Basswood.jpg
USCGC Basswood through the Straits of Mackinac on 12 May 1944
United States
Name: Basswood
Builder: Marine and Iron Shipbuilding Corporation
Laid down: 21 March 1943
Launched: 20 May 1943
Commissioned: 12 January 1944
Decommissioned: 4 September 1998
Fate: Sold on 24 November 2000, eventually scrapped
Badge: USCGC Basswood Badge.png
General characteristics
Class and type: Iris-class buoy tender
Displacement: 935 long tons (950 t)
Length: 180 ft (55 m)
Beam: 47 ft 1 in (14.35 m)
Draft: 12 ft (3.7 m)
Propulsion: 1 × electric motor connected to 2 Westinghouse generators driven by 2 Cooper Bessemer-type GND-8, 4-cycle diesels; single screw
  • 8.3 kn (15.4 km/h; 9.6 mph) cruising
  • 13 kn (24 km/h; 15 mph) maximum
  • 6 officers
  • 74 enlisted

USCGC Basswood (WLB-388) was a Iris-class buoy tender belonging to the United States Coast Guard launched on 20 May 1943, and commissioned on 12 January 1944.[1]


The Iris-class buoy tenders were constructed after the Mesquite-class buoy tenders. Basswood cost $896,402 to construct and had an overall length of 180 feet (55 m). She had a beam of 37 feet (11 m) and a draft of up to 12 feet (3.7 m) at the time of construction, although this was increased to 14 feet 7 inches (4.45 m) in 1966. She initially had a displacement of 935 long tons (950 t; 1,047 short tons); this was increased to 1,026 long tons (1,042 t; 1,149 short tons) in 1966. She was powered by one electric motor, this was connected up to two Westinghouse generators which were driven by two CooperBessemer GND-8 four-cycle diesel engines. She had a single screw.[2]

The Iris-class buoy tenders had maximum sustained speeds of 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph), although this diminished to around 11.9 knots (22.0 km/h; 13.7 mph) in 1966. For economic and effective operation, they had to initially operate at 8.3 knots (15.4 km/h; 9.6 mph), although this increased to 8.5 knots (15.7 km/h; 9.8 mph) in 1966. The ship had a complement of six officers and seventy-four crew members in 1945; this decreased to two warrants, four officers, and forty-seven men in 1966. They were fitted with a SL1 radar system and QBE-3A sonar system in 1945, their armament consisted of one 3"/50 caliber gun, two 20 mm/80 guns, two Mousetraps, two depth charge tracks, and four Y-guns in 1945; these were removed in 1966.[2]


International radio call sign of
USCGC Basswood (WLB-388)[3]
ICS November.svg ICS Oscar.svg ICS Delta.svg ICS Golf.svg
November Oscar Delta Golf
USCGC Basswood works a buoy in Vũng Tàu harbor 1968

Basswood was laid down in Duluth, Minnesota and commissioned in January 1944. From March to April 1944, she performed general ATON and icebreaking on the Great Lakes after which she was transferred to Astoria, Oregon, for additional ATON duty until the end of World War II.[3]

From 1968 until her decommissioning in 1998, Basswood was stationed in Guam, and holds the distinction of being commissioned longer than any other naval ship assigned there. While on station, she was the driving force behind Project Handclasp, a US Navy program to provide health care and humanitarian relief to outlying islands in the Pacific Ocean.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Basswood WLB 388". Naval Cover Museum. Retrieved 26 July 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Basswood". United States Coast Guard. Retrieved 24 August 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "USCG Basswood". USCG. US Coast Guard. Retrieved 26 July 2015.