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Sagebrush, 1944

WAGL-399; WLB-399

Call Sign: NODR

Nicknames: "Tumble Weed"; "Scrub Brush"; "Fid"; "Neverdock"; "The Official Pirate Ship in the Fleet"

Sagebrush is a shrub or small tree from the family Asteraceae. It is a coarse, hardy silvery-grey bush with yellow flowers and grows in arid sections of the western United States. It is the primary vegetation across vast areas of the Great Basin desert. Along rivers or in other relatively wet areas, sagebrush can grow as tall as 3 m (10 feet), but is more typically 1-2 m tall.

Builder: Zenith Dredge Corporation, Duluth, MN

Builder's Number: bn CG-170

Cost:  $925,134

Length:  180' oa

Beam: 37' mb

Draft:  12' max (1945); 14' 7" (1966)

Displacement: 935 fl (1945); 1,026 fl (1966); 700 light (1966)

Keel Laid: 15 July 1943

Launched: 30 September 1943

Commissioned: 1 April 1944

Decommissioned: 26 April 1988

Status: Scuttled 28 April 1988

Propulsion:  1 electric motor connected to 2 Westinghouse generators driven by 2 Cooper-Bessemer-type GND-8, 4-cycle diesels; single screw

Top speed: 13.0 kts sustained (1945); 11.9 kts sustained (1966) 

Economic speed: 8.3 kts (1945); 8.5 kts (1966)

Complement: 6 Officers, 74 men (1945); 4 officers, 2 warrants, 47 men (1966)

    Radar: SL1 (1945)
    Sonar: QBE-3A (1945)

Armament: 1-3"/50 (single), 2-20mm/80 (single), 2 depth charge tracks, 2 Mousetraps, 4 Y-guns (1945); None (1966)

Cutter History:

World War II

USCGC Sagebrush was assigned to general ATON and icebreaking duties on the Great Lakes during March-April 1944. From 31 July 1944 through September 1945, Sagebrush was assigned to the 7th Coast Guard District. Homeported at San Juan, PR it was used for general ATON duty.


From the war's end until the end of her career, USCGC Sagebrush was assigned to the 7th Coast Guard District, homeported at San Juan, PR and used for general ATON duty. Sagebrush has been involved with numerous rescues at sea and drug seizures. In 1972, Sagebrush rescued all but one of the crew of the ill-fated Lincoln Express when it sank north of San Juan . That same year, Sagebrush aided in an intense search following the crash of the DC-9 carrying Roberto Clemente along with supplies for the victims of the December 1972 Nicaraguan earthquake. In 1976 the ship rescued five crew members from Taurus V when it broke up and sank off the west coast of Puerto Rico . Sagebrush joined the USCGC Courageous in 1977 for the rescue of the freighter Calabres which contained approximately 120 tons of marijuana when it sank. While still keeping busy during 1978-1980, Sagebrush seized the MV Heidi (116 tons) and two other vessels.

In 1982, Sagebrush recovered the stolen sailing vessel Kerry Lee and seized F/V Endeavor II (21 tons). Later that year, Sagebrush received the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation for her performance from October 1981 to September 1982. In 1983, Sagebrush participated in a 1.5 million dollar humanitarian project by delivering medical equipment to the island of St. Kitts , West Indies . Later that year, Sagebrush seized the sailing vessel Toad with 320 pounds of marijuana. In 1984, Sagebrush served as the support ship for three Coast Guard patrol boats in the Special Military Operations in Grenada , West Indies . For her participation in the operations, Sagebrush received the Coast Guard Unit Commendation. Also is 1984, Sagebrush participated in Operation Blue Blade in Panama during which she transited through the Panama Canal . For her efforts in Operation Hat Trick I during November and December of that year, Sagebrush received another Coast Guard Unit Commendation. In 1985 Sagebrush assisted in the offloading of fuel from the grounded vessel A. Regina. Once again, for her efforts, the ship was awarded the Coast Guard Unit Commendation. Later that same year, the ship seized the F/V Carey with 5 tons of marijuana on board. Sagebrush 's cumulative hard work was recognized in the fall of 1985 when the ship received the Coast Guard Academy Alumni Foundation Award. This award recognized the "multi-mission" efforts of Sagebrush. In 1986 Sagebrush participated in the drug interdiction operation Hat Trick II. Although the ship completed 47 boardings during the period, no seizures were made. In addition, the ship rescued the F/V Amaru I from sinking and recovered two men found floating for over 24 hrs after the sinking of their boat. Also in 1986, the ship played an instrumental role in the joint military exercise Ocean Venture '86.

A photo of the CGC Sagebrush

USCGC Sagebrush keel laying- 15 July 1943

Photo of USCGC Sagebrush launching on 30 September 1943

USCGC Sagebrush 's launching party- 30 September 1943

Photo of USCG Sagebrush- no date

USCGC Sagebrush- no date

Photo of USCGC Sagebrush on 7 January 1972

USCGC Sagebrush underway- 7 January 1972

Sagebrush tending buoys

USCGC Sagebrush tending buoys

Color photo of USCGC Sagebrush- no date

  USCGC Sagebrush


Cutter File, Coast Guard Historian's Office.

HABS/HAER, National Park Service, US Department of the Interior. US Coast Guard 180-Foot Buoy Tenders. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 2003.

Robert Scheina.  Coast Guard Cutters & Craft of World War II.  Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1981.

Robert Scheina.  Coast Guard Cutters & Craft, 1946-1990.  Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1990.

Last Modified 1/12/2016