USCGC Staten Island (WAGB-278)

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USCG Staten Island
USCG Staten Island
Career (USSR) 100x35px
Name: Severny Veter
Builder: Western Pipe and Steel Company, San Pedro, California
Laid down: 9 June 1942
Launched: 28 December 1942
Commissioned: 26 February 1944
Fate: Returned to the US Navy, 19 December 1951
Name: USS Northwind
Commissioned: 26 January 1952
Decommissioned: 1 February 1966
Renamed: USS Staten Island, 25 February 1952
Struck: 1 March 1966
Homeport: Boston, Massachusetts (1951-1955)
Seattle, Washington (1955-1974)
Fate: Turned over to the United States Coast Guard
Career 100x35px
Name: USCGC Staten Island (WAGB-278)
Commissioned: 1 February 1965
Decommissioned: 15 November 1974
Nickname: "White Arctic Garbage Barge"
Honors and
Meritorious Unit Commendation (1971)
2 × Coast Guard Unit Commendations (1969 & 1973)
Fate: Sold for scrap
General characteristics
Class and type: Wind-class icebreaker
Displacement: 6,515 long tons (6,620 t) full load
Length: 269 ft (82 m)
Beam: 63 ft 6 in (19.35 m)
Draft: 25 ft 8 in (7.82 m)
Propulsion: 6 × 2,000 hp (1,491 kW) Fairbanks Morse diesel engines, driving 6 Westinghouse DC generators which in turn drove 3 electric propulsion motors
2 propellers aft, and 1 forward (detachable and seldom used)
Speed: 16.8 knots (31.1 km/h; 19.3 mph)
Range: 32,485 nmi (60,162 km)
Complement: 21 officers, 295 enlisted (1942)
12 officers, 2 warrants, 205 men (1967)
Armament: • 2 × twin 5"/38 caliber dual purpose guns
• 3 × quad 40 mm/60 AA guns
• 6 × 20 mm/80 AA guns
• 2 × depth charge racks, Y-gun projectors
• 1 × Hedgehog anti-submarine mortar
Aircraft carried: 1 × Grumman J2F Duck seaplane

USCGC Staten Island (WAGB-278) was a United States Coast Guard Wind-class icebreaker. Laid down on 9 June 1942 and launched on 28 December 1942, the ship was commissioned on 26 February 1944, and almost immediately afterward transferred to the Soviet Union, under the Lend Lease program, under the name Severny Veter, which loosely translates as Northwind, until 19 December 1951. When returned to the United States Navy, she was designated USS Northwind (AGB-5) until 15 April 1952, when she was renamed Staten Island to distinguish her from her successor Template:USCGC which had been laid down shortly after WAGB-278 was lent to the Soviets. The ship was transferred to the US Coast Guard as USCGC Staten Island (WAGB-278) in February 1965, and served until November 1974, before being scrapped.

Service history

Soviet Union, 1944–1951

Severny Veter, (Russian: Северный Ветер), was transferred to the Soviet Navy in February 1944 through the Lend Lease Program, serving in the Northern Route Command. In 1946 she was renamed Kapitan Belousov (Russian: Капитан Белоусов) after Soviet icebreaker captain M.P. Belousov. Custody of Belousov was returned to the United States Navy on 19 December 1951 at Bremerhaven, Germany.

United States Navy, 1951–1966

The ship was renamed USS Northwind (AGB-5) under the command of LCDR Edmund L. Andronik, USN. On 25 February 1952 the Northwind arrived at Boston Naval Shipyard, Boston, Massachusetts, for overhaul and fitting out as a unit of the United States Atlantic Fleet.

On 15 April she was renamed Staten Island to distinguish her from her successor ship Template:USCGC, which had been laid down shortly after the ship was sent to the Soviets. Overhaul was completed by 30 June, and on 1 July she sailed from Boston to Grenfell Sound, Labrador, to conduct ice reconnaissance in Frobisher Bay, returning to Boston on 8 September. USCGC Staten Island (WAGB-278) was named for the New York City borough of Staten Island. Ironically the major interstate highway that runs through the borough is numbered as Interstate 278.

Staten Island departed Boston for Resolution Island on 25 April 1952 to relieve Edisto (AGB-2), returning to Boston on 10 June. During August, Staten Island became the first Navy ship to cut through the Davis Strait from Thule to Ellesmere Island.

In the following year, 1954, Staten Island was involved in three ice breaking operations through 15 December.

In 1955 her home port was changed to Seattle, Washington. Staten Island sailed for Seattle on 19 May, and arrived there on 10 June for duty with Service Squadron 1. From June through September, she broke ice for ships resupplying the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line radar stations, returning to Seattle on 28 September.

Staten Island departed Seattle on 5 July 1956 to lead another convoy of resupply ships bound for the DEW Line through the ice, returning to Seattle on 6 September. She was then assigned to Operation Deep Freeze II and departed Seattle for Antarctica on 3 November. Staten Island rendezvoused with cargo ship Wyandot (AKA-92) near the Panama Canal Zone before both continued on for Antarctica, arriving on 15 December at the Weddell Sea pack ice, and then breaking through the Antarctic Circle on 20 December en route to Cape Adams. The icebreaker led Wyandot from Cape Adams to Gould Bay where Ellsworth Station was then assembled. She departed Gould Bay on 15 February 1957 to return home to Seattle, arriving there on 5 April.

On 15 October 1963 while on the summer Arctic mission, the Captain, Cdr. John Metschel, USN, and a Navy helicopter pilot were lost at sea doing ice reconnaissance. The only remains found were one of the helicopter's pontoons floating at sea.

On 1 February 1966, Staten Island was decommissioned by the United States Navy and struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 March.

United States Coast Guard, 1963–1973

She was then transferred to the United States Coast Guard, where she was redesignated USCGC Staten Island (WAGB-278), and home-ported at Seattle. During the summer of 1966, the engineering plant was upgraded and modifications were made to the flight deck and hangar to allow operation of a HH-52A Seaguard Helicopter. The Coast Guard then deployed her to Antarctica as part of that season's "Operation Deep Freeze" on 22 September.

Staten Island returned from her Antarctic voyage on 6 April 1967 and was then sent into the Arctic Ocean above Alaska for four months during the spring and summer during which time she ran aground while traveling west from Prudhoe Bay and sustained minor damage. Staten Island then broke ice to assist her sister ship, Template:USCGC, twice during the fall ice season; in September Northwind lost a propeller and became locked in the ice, and she was trapped again in October-November 450 nautical miles (830 km) north-northwest of Point Barrow, Alaska.

During July and August 1968 Staten Island was assigned to conduct an oceanographic survey of the Chukchi Sea-Bering Strait area as part of a cooperative effort between the Coast Guard Oceanographic Unit, the University of Alaska and the University of Washington.

On 10-11 March 1969, she rescued the crew of the fishing vessel (F/V) Martindale which had run aground off Akun Island. Staten Island was dispatched to the Arctic Ocean on 7 July as an oceanographic research platform and escort vessel for supply operations. There she helped Template:USCGC reach open water off Point Barrow on 7 September, relieved Northwind on 22 September after that vessel suffered engine trouble, and assisted the Canadian icebreaker CCGS John A. Macdonald in escorting the tanker SS Manhattan eastward through the Northwest Passage. Staten Island arrived in New York on 9 November, and departed for Seattle on 9 December by way of the Panama Canal with stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Acapulco, Mexico. Upon her arrival back in Seattle, Staten Island became the fourth United States ship to circumnavigate the North American continent, traveling over 23,000 miles (37,000 km) in the process.

She departed Seattle on 6 July 1970 to conduct scientific tests and evaluation of crude oil spread rate in the Arctic Ocean. Later that summer when a large group of 20 tugs and 40 barges bound for Prudhoe Bay with vital supplies became trapped in pack ice, Staten Island worked around the clock for 3½ days to tow and push the barges to open water. She freed the fouled screw of the tug Active 30 nautical miles (56 km) southwest of Point Barrow on 14 August, and returned to Seattle on 20 August. Staten Island departed Seattle once more later in the year as part of "Operation Deep Freeze 1971".

On 28 February 1971, while en route to Mawson Station she struck an uncharted pinnacle 14 nautical miles (26 km) north of the station, suffering significant damage, including a punctured hull that flooded four compartments, but no crew injuries. After completing temporary repairs in Melbourne, Australia and certified seaworthy, Template:USCGC was ordered to escort the Staten Island home to Seattle.

In mid-March 1972, during "Operation Deep Freeze", while en route from Dunedin, New Zealand, to Suva, Fiji, Staten Island was broadsided by a rogue wave and came within 2 degrees of capsizing. While ascending the ladder to the bridge to relieve the helmsman, Seaman Cotten hailed the Officer of the Day moments before an 80 ft (24 m) wall of water struck the port beam. With the bridge doors open the bridge instantly filled with water, as well as the stairwell in which Seaman Cotten was prevented from ascending. The ship listed heavily to starboard, began to shake with one propeller turning in the air, then rolled back to port causing the starboard wing to scoop up seawater, sending everyone splashing toward the overhead (again). Only one man was injured - a fireman climbing up from the engine room who twisted an ankle. In early March Staten Island became the first United States Government vessel to enter the port in Dunedin.

Later in the year the ship departed Seattle for Arctic Summer North carrying scientists from the University of Anchorage, the University of Washington, and the Smithsonian Institution to make determinations on the effects drilling for oil on the north slope of Alaska would have on the environment.

During February 1973 Staten Island participated in the Bering Sea Experiment as part of her Arctic West Winter activities, 475 nautical miles (880 km) north of Adak Island, with the Soviet research vessel Priboy, and several aircraft. From 7 March through 3 April, she was attached to Task Unit 57.0 of the Pacific Fleet during SUBICEX 1-73, during which time she received the Coast Guard Unit Commendation with Operational Distinguishing Device. Her crew received refresher training between 5 and 16 November, at which time she departed Seattle to escort ships in "Operation Deep Freeze 1973".

Staten Island was decommissioned on 15 November 1974, and sold for scrap.


sl:USCGC Staten Island (WAGB-278) ru:Капитан Белоусов (ледокол, 1946-1951)