USCGC Mellon (WHEC-717)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Mellon underway in the Bering Sea, 2001
USCGC Mellon (WHEC-717) in the Bering Sea, 2001.
 United States
Builder: Avondale Shipyards
Laid down: 25 July 1966
Launched: 11 February 1967
Commissioned: 9 January 1968
Homeport: Seattle, Washington
  • Primus inter pares
  • (First among equals)
Fate: Active
Badge: USCGC MELLON WHEC 717.jpg
General characteristics
Displacement: 3,250 tons
Length: 378 ft (115 m)
Beam: 43 ft (13 m)
Draught: 15 ft (4.6 m)
Speed: 29 knots (54 km/h)
Range: 14,000 nmi (25,900 km)
Endurance: 45 days
Complement: 167 personnel
Sensors and
processing systems:
AN/SPS-40 air-search radar

USCGC Mellon (WHEC-717) is a United States Coast Guard Hamilton-class high endurance cutter based out of Seattle, Washington.

Operational history[edit]

Mellon was laid down on 25 July 1966 at Avondale Shipyards near New Orleans, Louisiana. She was named for Andrew W. Mellon, the 49th U.S. Secretary of the Treasury from 1921-1932 and launched on 11 February 1967 by the wife of John W. Warner, Jr., sponsor and granddaughter of Andrew Mellon. Mellon was commissioned 9 January 1968.

In March 1970, Mellon was involved in pursuit of mutineers involved in the SS Columbia Eagle incident during the Vietnam War.

In February 1974, Mellon played a major role rescuing the crew of the Italian supertanker Giovanna Lolli-Ghetti, they survived an explosion, fire and then sinking of the tanker. At midnight Mellon was advised of a distress call from 900 miles northeast of Hawaii,[1] at roughly 1115 hrs the next morning, Mellon reached the area where the vessel Tamerlane (Norway) was rescuing survivors from the now deserted tanker.

The survivors transferred to Mellon for medical treatment, warm food and clean clothes, the nearby Novikov Priboy from Russia arrived to give additional medical aid. Seven of the crew were not recovered, the rest were taken back to Honolulu on Mellon.[2]

Mellon launching a Harpoon missile in 1990.

In October 1980, Mellon assisted in the rescue of over 400 passengers and crew of the MS Prinsendam, a luxury liner in distress in the Gulf Of Alaska. After the rescue operations were completed, the Mellon remained on scene in a futile attempt to fight the fire, that had originated in the Prinsendam engine room and progressed throughout the ship. While the Prinsendam was under tow by salvage tugs, and escorted by Mellon the burning ship suddenly listed hard over to Port and sank within a few minutes.

Mellon was modernized from 1985 to 1989. She was the first and only USCG cutter to be fitted with the Harpoon missile, test firings were also conducted in January 1990, she also received an anti-submarine warfare suite including the AN/ SQS-17 and AN/SQS-38 SONAR and Mark 46 torpedoes. The ASW suite and Harpoon capability were removed due to fiscal constraints and the Navy and Coast Guard decided they were unneeded because the threat from the Soviet Union was over, but served as a proof of capability for all USCG cutters.[3][4]


In the 1980 Disney film The Last Flight of Noah's Ark, the Mellon found and rescued the crew of an airplane that had been converted into a makeshift life raft.



  1. ^
  2. ^ Mellon History United States Coast Guard, p. 3, 6 June 2008, Retrieved 12 November 2010
  3. ^ Mellon History United States Coast Guard, p. 1, 21 June 2008,
  4. ^ "United States Coast Guard Cutter BOUTWELL (WHEC 719): The History and Legacy of a Decommissioning Cutter" (PDF). US Coast Guard. Retrieved 9 February 2017.

External links[edit]

Media related to USCGC Mellon (WHEC-717) at Wikimedia Commons