USCGC Hornbeam (WLB-394)

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USCGC Hornbeam.jpg
USCGC Hornbeam underway.
United States
Name: Hornbeam
Builder: Marine and Iron Shipbuilding Corporation
Laid down: 19 June 1943
Launched: 14 August 1943
Commissioned: 14 April 1944
Decommissioned: 30 September 1999
Identification:IMO number8660624
Badge: USCGC Hornbeam 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

The USCGC Hornbeam (WLB-394) was a Iris-class buoy tender belonging to the United States Coast Guard launched on 14 August 1943 and commissioned on 14 April 1944.[1]


The Iris-class buoy tenders were constructed after the Mesquite-class buoy tenders. Hornbeam cost $864,296 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 Cooper Bessemer GND-8 four-cycle diesel engines. She had a single screw.[1]

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 ships 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.[1]


International radio call sign of
USCGC Hornbeam (WLB-394)[1]
ICS November.svg ICS Oscar.svg ICS Delta.svg ICS Mike.svg
November Oscar Delta Mike

During World War II Hornbeam initially served on the Great Lakes where she was used for ATON and ice-breaking.[1] From August 1944, until the war's end in 1945, the cutter was assigned to the First Coast Guard District and stationed at Woods Hole. In January 1945, she assisted USCGC Nemesis (WPC-111) following Nemesis' collision with SS Felipe de Neve.

After the war, Hornbeam stayed in Woods Hole until July 1976. During early 1965, she escorted the USS Atka (AGB-3), which was taking on water near New Bedford.

From July 1976, through 29 April 1977, the ship underwent an overhaul at the Coast Guard Yard at Curtis Bay, MD. From 29 April 1977, Hornbeam was stationed at Cape May, NJ, and used as an Aids to Navigation Boat. In January and February 1994, Hornbeam, during a record cold spell, spent seven weeks breaking ice and installing ice buoys in the Delaware Bay and Delaware River.[1] She was decommissioned on 30 September 1999, and put up for sale.

M/V Rum Cay Grace[edit]

In January 2009, Hornbeam was purchased by Integrated Technologies & Systems, Ltd and rechristened M/V Rum Cay Grace, getting underway in February for Rum Cay, Bahamas. Along the way, the crew spotted and salvaged a US Navy Northrop BQM-74 Chukar target drone. Rum Cay Grace transported emergency relief supplies from Miami, Florida, following the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Following her relief efforts, while anchored in Port-au-Prince, Rum Cay Grace was stolen by smugglers and abandoned near the Panama Canal. She and six other ships broke loose from their moorings and were driven onto the rocks in 2013. [2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "USCG Hornbeam". USCG. US Coast Guard. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  2. ^ Briggs, Harry; Briggs, Amanda. "M/V Rum Cay Grace". Haiti's Future. Retrieved 2016-01-13.