USCGC Southwind (WAGB-280)
The USS Atka (then USCG Southwind) on 15 July 1944.
|Builder:||Western Pipe and Steel Company, San Pedro, California|
|Laid down:||20 July 1942|
|Launched:||8 March 1943|
|Commissioned:||15 July 1944 as USCGC Southwind (WAGB-280)|
|Decommissioned:||25 March 1945|
|Renamed:||Admiral Makarov (1945-50), USS Atka (1950-66), USCGC Southwind (1966-76)|
|Displacement:||approx 6,500 tons full load|
|Length:||269 ft (82 m)|
|Beam:||63.8 ft (19.4 m)|
|Draught:||25.75 ft (7.85 m)|
|Propulsion:||3 shaft Diesel Electric drive (1 bow), 13,300 shp (9,920 kW)|
|Armament:||4x 5" in twin mounts, 12x40 mm in quad mounts|
|Aircraft carried:||1 Grumman J2F Seaplane|
USCGC Southwind (WAGB-280) was a Wind-class icebreaker that served in the United States Coast Guard, the Soviet Navy, the United States Navy as the USS Atka (AGB-3) and again in the U.S. Coast Guard as the Southwind.
First US Coast Guard Service
Construction began on 20 July 1942 in the Western Pipe and Steel Company shipyards in San Pedro, California, and she was launched on 8 March 1943 by Mrs Ona Jones. On 15 July 1944, she was commissioned as USCGC Southwind (WAGB-280).
After seeing service on the Greenland Patrol, and assisting the Eastwind in capturing the German trawler Externsteine, Southwind was transferred to the Soviet Union on 23 or 25 March 1945 as part of the Lend-Lease Program.
The ship served in the merchant marine under the name Admiral Makarov (Russian: Адмирал Макаров, named in honor of Stepan Makarov) until being returned to the US Navy on 28 December 1949 at Yokosuka, Japan.
In 1950 she was returned to the US Navy and rechristened as Atka, after a small Aleutian island of Atka. Upon her arrival at Boston, Atka entered the naval shipyard there for a thorough overhaul and modernization. The work was completed late in May 1951, and Atka began operations from Boston in July.
Throughout her career in the American Navy, the icebreaker followed a routine established by the changing seasons. In the late spring, she would set sail for either the northern or southern polar regions to resupply American and Canadian air bases and weather and radar stations. In early fall, she would return to Boston for upkeep and repairs. In the winter, the ship would sail various routes in the North Atlantic to gather weather data before returning to Boston in early spring for repairs and preparation for her annual polar expedition.
The ship often carried civilian scientists who plotted data on ocean currents and ocean water characteristics. They also assembled hydrographic data on the poorly charted polar regions. Atka was also involved in numerous tests of cold weather equipment and survival techniques.
She served in the Atlantic fleet and completed three Arctic tours.
Second US Coast Guard Service
On 31 October 1966 she was transferred the US Coast Guard and christened again as USCGC Southwind, changed homeport to Baltimore (Curtis Bay), MD.
After a shakedown cruise to Bermuda she proceeded on its first operational cruise north to Thule, Greenland.
She deployed to the Arctic in 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1973, as well as to the Antarctic in December 1967, December 1968 and January 1972.
|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. Please help improve this article by introducing appropriate citations of additional sources. (January 2010)|
In 1971, Southwind visited the port of Murmansk, being the first US military vessel to visit a Soviet port since the start of the cold war. During that visit, she took aboard a boilerplate (BP-1227) from the Apollo Program. The boilerplate has been lost in the North Sea in early 1970, recovered by a Hungarian vessel, transferred to the Soviet Union, and passed to the Southwind in September 1970.
- USCGC Southwind
- USS Atka Association
- USCG Icebreaker photos
- NavSource information
- US Coast Guard site detailing the Capture of the German Naval Auxiliary Externsteine by the Coast Guard Icebreakers Eastwind & Southwind in Greenland, 1944