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Duane

Historic Image Gallery


We hope that you enjoy this gallery of historic photographs of the Coast Guard Cutter Duane (WPG / WHEC-33).

Unless otherwise noted, the following are official U.S. Coast Guard images.


A photo of the cutter Duane

"Coast Guard Cutter 'William J. Duane.'  Driving of First Rivet by Constructor F. A. Hunnewell.  Navy Yard, Phila., PA. May 1  - 1935."; 1 May 1935; Photo No. 192-35E; photographer unknown.

The sign "U.S.C.G. CUTTER No. 67 refers to the number assigned to her by her builder, the Navy Yard, and has no correspondence with her hull number, which would not be assigned until 1941.  The Treasury Class cutters were all built at Navy shipbuilding yards to save on construction costs.  The George M. Bibb (Builder's No. 71) was constructed at the Charleston Navy Yard; Alexander Hamilton (Builder's No. 69) & John C. Spencer (Builder's No. 70) were both constructed at the New York Navy Yard while Duane's sister cutters George W. Campbell (Builder's No. 65), Samuel D. Ingham (Builder's No. 66) & Roger B. Taney (Builder's No. 68) were all constructed at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.


A photo of the cutter Duane

"'William J. Duane."; 1937; no photo number; photo by Taising Loo.

Her name was shortened to simply "Duane" in mid-1937.


A photo of the cutter Duane

No caption/date/photo number; photographer unknown.

The Duane in Greenland waters, circa 1940, when she was assigned to survey the west coast of Greenland.  In concert with the cutter Northland, which surveyed the east coast of Greenland, the cutters utilized their amphibian aircraft to complete the task.  The Duane carried a Curtiss SOC-4 Seagull.  

A former crewman of Duane, Captain Dave Sinclair, noted:

"Most significant of our duties, and omitted from the annals of the Greenland Patrol, were the aircraft flights from DUANE.  LT W. D. 'Doc' Shields and Army Air Corps Captain [Julius Kahn Lacey] alternately flew the first aerial survey flights of Southwest Greenland, charting potential sites for the establishment of airfields."


A photo of the cutter Duane

No caption; 21 March 1943; Photo No. I (a); photographer unknown.

Duane transferred to the Navy on 11 September 1941 after first serving on the west coast, then serving with Destroyer Division 18 on Grand Banks Patrol in 1939, sailing on weather station duty in 1940 and then surveying the coast of Greenland.  Once attached to the Navy, she was assigned to CINCLANT (DESLANT) and began escorting convoys soon thereafter.

Note her wartime camouflage.


A photo of the cutter Duane

No caption; Photo No. I (b); 21 March 1943; photographer unknown.

A good view of the stern area of a 327 at the height of the Battle of the Atlantic--although by this time they each had differing weapons layouts and combinations.  Note the radar antenna at the top of her mainmast.  Vice Admiral Thomas R. Sargent III,  assigned to Duane as a junior officer in 1943, noted:

"I loved the 327-foot cutters.  The large engine room made them vulnerable to a direct torpedo attack and they were difficult to steer when refueling at sea due to the small rudder surface, but they were wonderful sea boats and could operate in weather which placed the destroyers in an almost untenable position."

From 3-6 February 1943 her crew assisted in the rescue of the Dorchester survivors and on 17 April 1943 assisted her sister cutter Spencer in the destruction of the U-175 and rescued 22 of the U-boat's crew--see the next photograph.


A photo of a survivor of the U175

"'CALM DOWN, FRITZ, YOU'RE OUT OF THE WAR': Fished out of the Atlantic after a Coast Guard combat cutter had scored a kill over a Nazi submarine with depth charges, this frightened German seaman is led to the cutter's quarterdeck by two Coast Guardsmen.  Forty-one Germans were picked up by two Coast Guard cutters during this mid-ocean action."; 17 April 1943; Photo No. 1581; photo by Bob Gates, USCGR.

On 17 April 1943, while screening in front of Convoy HX-233, Spencer (WPG-36) located the submerged U-175 attempting to infiltrate the convoy.  The cutter attacked the U-boat with depth charges and brought her to the surface.  The U-boat's crew then abandoned their submarine and the Spencer and Duane rescued the survivors.  Here, Maschinengefreiter Otto Herzke is brought on board Duane.  The Duane rescued a total of 22 U-boatmen and turned them over to the British on arrival in Scotland on 20 April 1943.  Note Herzke's escape gear.

Click here for more photos of this epic sea battle.


A photo of the cutter Duane

W-33, STBD. BOW, NORFOLK NAVY YARD."; 6 March 1944; Photo No. 7105 (44); BS #62563; photographer unknown.

Duane was assigned to CINCLANT (8th Fleet)  in mid-1943 and escorted convoys to the Mediterranean and back and also through the Caribbean before being converted to an amphibious force flagship by the Norfolk Navy Yard between 16 January and 6 March 1944.  With the decrease in the threat by U-boats and the increase in the number of available Allied escort vessels, the Navy determined that the 327s would better serve the national security needs of the nation as command and control vessels [known as AGCs] for amphibious landings.  The conversion to AGCs consisted of the removal of most of their heavy armament, the addition of more anti-aircraft weaponry, and the construction of enclosed rooms for 35 radio receivers and 25 radio transmitters.  Here is Duane soon after her conversion.

Once converted, Duane served as the flagship for the commander of the 8th Amphibious Force for "Operation Dragoon," the invasion of Southern France beginning on 15 August 1944.


A photo of the cutter Duane

No caption; 24 July 1944; no photo number; photographer unknown.

The Duane, "dressed" in preparation for a visit by King George VI in Naples Harbor on 24 July 1944.  Note the SC-3 radar antenna atop the mainmast while a SGa sits atop the foremast


A photo of the cutter Duane

"With the establishment of weather stations in the North Atlantic, the 327' Class of cutters were again revamped for weather observation ships, as illustrated here by the DUANE."; no date/photo number; photographer unknown.

Here is Duane after her "reconversion" back to a peacetime configuration, probably in late-1946.  She still carried considerable armament, however, including an anti-submarine capability.  Note the open open hangar abaft the stack for weather balloon operations.


A photo of the cutter Duane

No caption/date/photo number; photographer unknown.

The Duane underway sometime during the mid-1950s.  Boston's Deer Island is in the background.


A photo of the cutter Duane

"Survivors of Bornholm."; 4 May 1957; no photo number; photographer unknown.  Taken from  yearbook 33: Coast Guard Cutter Duane: Queen of the Seas: 1 August 1936 - 1 August 1985 (Portland, Maine: United States Coast Guard Cutter Duane, 1985), p. 10.  This was the official cutter history published for her decommissioning.

On 4 May 1957, after responding to a distress call from the Finnish merchantman SS Bornholm, which was taking on water 130 miles north of Ocean Station Charlie (manned at that time by Duane) the cutter rescued all 27 persons on board before the Bornholm sank.


A photo of the Duane in the 1960s

No caption/date/photo number; photographer unknown.

The Duane underway sometime in the early 1960's.  Official Coast Guard photograph provided by Jay Schmidt.

Rick Hess informed the Historian's Office that: "According to my dad Capt. Richard T. Hess, Sr., USCG (Ret.) he identified [this photo] as 'taken late Oct. 1963 we were on our way to Gitmo for a month's underway training with the Navy.  I was the Ops Officer and Navigator."


A photo of the cutter Duane

"Coast Guard Cutter Point Lomas comes alongside Duane to drop off engine parts and to pick up mail to ferry into Da Nang.  Although smaller cutters are painted Navy gray and belong to another squadron, they are still Coast Guard, and their brief visits are always welcome by the high endurance cutters.  Point Lomas is commanded by Lieutenant (junior grade) John S. Howse of Glendale, Calif. and operates out of Da Nang."; 29 March 1968; Photo No. 052968-05 (Number 3 of 7); Release No. 48-68; photographer unknown.


A photo of the cutter Duane

"Underway replenishment with a navy oiler Guadalupe near Da Nang."; no date/photo number; photographer unknown.  Taken from the yearbook 33: Coast Guard Cutter Duane: Queen of the Seas: 1 August 1936 - 1 August 1985 (Portland, Maine: United States Coast Guard Cutter Duane, 1985), p. 13.  This was the official cutter history published for her decommissioning.


A photo of the cutter Duane

No caption/date/photo number; photographer unknown.  

Photograph was scanned from the cruise book USCGC Duane In Vietnam 1967-1968 (U.S. Coast Guard, 1968), p. 25.  This was her official cruise book for her tour of duty in Vietnam with Coast Guard Squadron Three under the Navy's Operation Market Time.  This photo shows a boarding party from Duane inspecting one of the hundreds of vessels that plied the waters off South Vietnam.  Such boardings were one of the primary missions of Coast Guard Squadron Three and were instrumental in halting the movement of Communist supplies and reinforcements by sea.


A photo of the cutter Duane

No caption/date/photo number; photographer unknown. 

A black & white copy of this photo appears in the yearbook 33: Coast Guard Cutter Duane: Queen of the Seas: 1 August 1936 - 1 August 1985.  Portland, Maine: United States Coast Guard Cutter Duane, 1985--the official cutter history published for her decommissioning.

Here Duane undertakes another of the primary missions assigned to the cutters of Coast Guard Squadron Three, that of Naval Gunfire Support (NGFS).  Her main battery fired in support of forces ashore in Vietnam 17 different times, firing a total of 1,778 rounds of ammunition.


A photo of the cutter Duane

No caption/date/photo number; photographer unknown.

1968: here Duane is steaming home after completing her tour of duty in Vietnam.  Note the "homeward bound" pennant fluttering from her foremast, suspended in the air by helium-filled balloons


A photo of the cutter Duane

"U.S. Coast Guard Cutter DUANE (WHEC-33) meeting with Soviet factory ship ROBERT EHYKE, May 19, 1971, 51 miles S.E. of Nantucket, Mass."; no photo number; photographer unknown.

With the decline of the ocean weather stations in the early 1970s, fisheries enforcement began to take on a more important role in Coast Guard operations and the High Endurance Cutters took the forefront of the enforcement of U.S. fisheries laws.  Drug smuggling was also a growing problem and again it was cutters such as Duane that served as the nation's "front line" in the war on narcotics' smuggling.

This photo, taken on 19 May 1971, shows Duane providing support for an at-sea conference between an American ambassador, representatives of the local fishing industries and the commander of a Soviet Georges Banks' fishing fleet.  The conference was set up to settle disputes between U.S. and Soviet fishermen. 


A photo of the cutter Duane

No caption/date/photo number; photographer unknown (probably early 1972).


A photo of the cutter Duane

"The Bitter End.";  taken from the yearbook 33: Coast Guard Cutter Duane: Queen of the Seas: 1 August 1936 - 1 August 1985 (Portland, Maine: United States Coast Guard Cutter Duane, 1985), p. 16.  This was the official cutter history published for her decommissioning.  Photo was taken on 16 March 1983; no photo number; photographer unknown.

On the evening of 5 March 1983, Duane intercepted the coastal freighter Civonney 230 miles east of Virginia.  The next day, while awaiting permission from the Honduran government to board the freighter, her crew set her afire in an attempt to scuttle her and then and abandoned ship.  The Duane, after unsuccessfully attempting to douse the fire, saved all 21 men who had been aboard and pulled a number of bales of marijuana from the sea.


A photo of the cutter Duane

No caption/date/photo number; photographer unknown.

Here Duane sports her newly painted gold hull numbers signifying her status as the oldest commissioned cutter in the Coast Guard fleet.  The plaque placed below her bridge notes: "CUTTER DUANE PROUDLY SAILS AS THE NATION'S OLDEST ACTIVE COMMISSIONED NAVAL VESSEL."


Last Modified 11/17/2014