USCGC Mellon (WHEC-717) in the Bering Sea, 2001.
|Laid down:||25 July 1966|
|Launched:||11 February 1967|
|Commissioned:||9 January 1968|
|Type:||High endurance cutter|
|Displacement:||3,250 metric tons|
|Length:||378 ft (115 m)|
|Beam:||43 ft (13 m)|
|Draft:||15 ft (4.6 m)|
|Speed:||29 kn (54 km/h; 33 mph)|
|Range:||14,000 nmi (26,000 km; 16,000 mi)|
|Complement:||167 and can carry up to 186|
|Sensors and |
|Electronic warfare |
|2 × MK 36 SRBOC launcher system|
|Aircraft carried:||1 × MH-65 Helicopter|
|Aviation facilities:||Flight deck and Hangar|
Mellon was laid down on 25 July 1966 at Avondale Shipyards near New Orleans, Louisiana. She was named for Andrew W. Mellon, the 49th U.S. Secretary of the Treasury from 1921-1932 and launched on 11 February 1967 by the wife of John W. Warner, Jr., sponsor and granddaughter of Andrew Mellon. Mellon was commissioned 9 January 1968.
In February 1974, Mellon played a major role rescuing the crew of the Italian supertanker Giovanna Lolli-Ghetti. They survived an explosion, fire and then sinking of the tanker. At midnight Mellon was advised of a distress call from 900 miles northeast of Hawaii. At roughly 1115 hrs the next morning, Mellon reached the area where the vessel Tamerlane (Norway) was rescuing survivors from the now deserted tanker.
The survivors transferred to Mellon for medical treatment, warm food and clean clothes. The nearby Novikov Priboy from Russia arrived to give additional medical aid. Seven of the crew were not recovered. The rest were taken back to Honolulu on Mellon.
In October 1980, Mellon assisted in the rescue of over 400 passengers and crew of the MS Prinsendam, a luxury liner in distress in the Gulf Of Alaska. After the rescue operations were completed, the Mellon remained on scene in a futile attempt to fight the fire, that had originated in the Prinsendam engine room and progressed throughout the ship. While the Prinsendam was under tow by salvage tugs, and escorted by Mellon the burning ship suddenly listed hard over to port and sank within a few minutes.
Mellon was modernized from 1985 to 1989 during the Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) program. She and a portion of the Hamilton-class were outfitted with Harpoon anti-ship missiles, test firings of the harpoon were conducted on the Mellon in January 1990. All Hamilton-class cutters also carried a ASW suite that was upgraded during FRAM, this included MK 32 Mod 7 Surface Vessel Torpedo Tubes, AN/SQS-38 sonar, Mk-309 Mod 0 Underwater Battery Fire Control System, and AN/SLQ-25 (NIXIE) torpedo countermeasures. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the joint Navy/USCG board decided there was no military threat to require the installation of anti-ship missiles and anti-submarine weapons on board cutters, and subsequently removed the weapons. However the fitting and firing of Harpoons on these cutters served as a proof of capability for all Hamilton-class USCG cutters.
In the 1980 Disney film The Last Flight of Noah's Ark, the Mellon found and rescued the crew of an airplane that had been converted into a makeshift life raft.
USCGC Mellon in Seattle for SeaFair Fleet Week
Media related to USCGC Mellon (WHEC-717) at Wikimedia Commons