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Text Image USCGC CAMPBELL (WMEC 909)

Portsmouth, NHImage USCGC CAMPBELL Logo

Image CG Red Bar

OPERATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

In 2011, CAMPBELL seized 2000 pounds of cocaine off of a stolen U.S. fishing vessel with a street value of over $20 million.

In 1998 CAMPBELL located, pursed, and boarded a decommissioned Navy tug while on a southern patrol. During the subsequent dockside boarding in Key West, FL, Coast Guard and U.S. Customs officials discovered 2.9 tons of cocaine in a hidden compartment.

In 1996 CAMPBELL was the On-Scene Commander for TWA Flight 800, responsible with keeping vessels from the crash site and with retrieving debris.

In 1996 CAMPBELL seized 480 kilos of cocaine left floating after an interrupted airdrop 60 miles southwest of Saba Island (near St. Martin).

In 1992, CAMPBELL seizure of 495-foot freighter led to discovery of >10K lbs cocaine.   Before fleeing vessel, crew set fire; CAMPBELL’s crew fought the fire and dewatered engine room to keep vessel afloat.  3rd largest cocaine seizure in CG history.

In 1991, CAMPBELL On-Scene Commander for SAR case of a Sailing Vessel during Hurricane Bob; After 6 days of searching, 3 survivors found in life raft 100 NM off coast of New Jersey.


HISTORY

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter George W. Campbell on return from Standardization Run., Navy Yard, Phila; 21 Aug 1936

USCGC CAMPBELL (WMEC-909) is the sixth cutter to bear the name CAMPBELL. Four were named for George Washington Campbell, Secretary of the Treasury in 1814. One was named for James Campbell, Postmaster General in 1863. The newest CAMPBELL, the ninth of the Coast Guard Famous Cutter class, is named to honor the previous CAMPBELLs, especially the USS CAMPBELL CG-32. The first CAMPBELL, a schooner, patrolled the Chesapeake Bay from 1830 to 1834. The second, also a schooner, saw service in the Gulf of Mexico between 1834-1839 and participated in the Seminole Indian War.

The third CAMPBELL, built in 1848, was considered the finest example of the sailing cutter; sleek and trim in appearance, she was called "Queen of Sailing Cutters". The fourth CAMPBELL, built in Somerset, Massachusetts, patrolled New England waters from 1853-1875. The fifth CAMPBELL, CG-32, was the longest lived and the most famous. Built at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1936, USS CAMPBELL CG-32 earned the title "Queen of the Seas" during her illustrious forty-six year career which spanned World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars. CAMPBELL and five sister ships each saw extensive action as convoy escorts during the Battle of the Atlantic throughout 1942-1943.

Here CAMPBELL is tied up at the New York Navy Yard in May 1940 after workers added three 3-inch 51 caliber guns in-line, aft.
CAMPBELL underway in the North Atlantic on convoy duty

Capable of maintaining a twenty knot speed in seas that slowed destroyers, these ships were ideal for protecting shipping in the mid Atlantic sector. Direction finding equipment and Asdic (early sonar) provided the primary anti-submarine defense. In February 1943 CAMPBELL was detailed to escort Convoy ON-166 and to provide Search-and-Rescue for any ships in distress. In the early morning hours of February 21st, the convoy was surrounded by a German U-Boat "Wolf Pack". U-606 torpedoed and sank the SS NIELSON ALONSO. Dispatched to assist, CAMPBELL rescued fifty survivors and then turned to attack another boat, U-753, damaging it so badly that the U-Boat had to withdraw from the wolf pack.

Throughout the 21st and 22nd, CAMPBELL attacked several U-Boats inflicting damage and driving off the attackers. Later on the 22nd U-606, having sustained heavy depth charge damage, surfaced in the midst of the convoy attempting a daring surface attack. CAMPBELL struck the sub a glancing blow that gashed CAMPBELL's hull in the engine room below the waterline. CAMPBELL fought on, dropping two depth charges which exploded and lifted the sub four feet out of the water.

CAMPBELL displaying modern Coast Guard paint scheme.

The crew brought all guns to bear on the subs, fighting on until water in the engine room shorted out all electricity. At the same time CAMPBELL lost power and the searchlights illuminating the sub went out, the U-Boat Commander ordered the sub abandoned. CAMPBELL ceased fire and lowered boats to rescue the subs survivors. CAMPBELL, disabled in the attack, was towed to port nine days later. She was repaired, rejoining the fleet for convoy duty until the German surrender. She was subsequently transferred to the Pacific to serve as an Amphibious Flagship until the end of the war. After World War II, CAMPBELL returned to peacetime duties under the Treasury Department and was designated a Coast Guard Cutter. All Coast Guard vessels since that time have borne the title U.S. Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) rather than the USS title of U.S. NAVY ships. CAMPBELL was twice more called to combat action, in Korean and Vietnamese waters. During Operation Market-Time, CAMPBELL destroyed or damaged 105 Viet Cong structures and steamed over thirty-two thousand miles in the Vietnamese War Zone. CAMPBELL was assigned to Search-and-Rescue, Maritime Law Enforcement, Military Readiness, and Ocean Station duties. She was homeported in New York City until 1969 when she moved to Portland, Maine. In 1974 her homeport was again changed, this time to Port Angeles, Washington. There she continued her peacetime duties until decommissioned in 1982. At the time of decommissioning, CAMPBELL was the oldest active continually commissioned vessel in the United States Fleet.

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Last Modified 9/19/2013