Mellon underway in the Bering Sea, 2001
USCGC Mellon (WHEC-717) in the Bering Sea, 2001.
 United States
Builder: Avondale Shipyards
Laid down: 25 July 1966
Launched: 11 February 1967
Commissioned: 9 January 1968
Homeport: Seattle, Washington
  • Primus inter pares
  • (First among equals)
Fate: Active
Badge: USCGC MELLON WHEC 717.jpg
General characteristics
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)
Installed power:
  • 2 × 550KW GM 8-645 diesel generators
  • 1 × 500KW Solar Model 101506-2001 gas generator
Speed: 29 kn (54 km/h; 33 mph)
Range: 14,000 nmi (26,000 km; 16,000 mi)
Endurance: 45 days
Complement: 167 and can carry up to 186
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • AN/SPS-40E Air Search Radar
  • AN/SPS-78 Surface Search Radar
  • AN/WLR-1H Electronic Support Surveillance Equipment
  • MK 92 Fire Control System
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
2 × MK 36 SRBOC launcher system
Aircraft carried: 1 × MH-65 Helicopter
Aviation facilities: Flight deck and Hangar

USCGC Mellon (WHEC-717) is a United States Coast Guard Hamilton-class high endurance cutter based out of Seattle, Washington.

Operational history

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 March 1970, Mellon was involved in pursuit of mutineers involved in the SS Columbia Eagle incident during the Vietnam War.

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.[1] 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.[2]

Mellon launching a Harpoon missile in 1990.

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 an 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.[3] However the fitting and firing of Harpoons on these cutters served as a proof of capability for all Hamilton-class USCG cutters.[4]


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.



  1. ^
  2. ^ Mellon History United States Coast Guard, p. 3, 6 June 2008, Retrieved 12 November 2010
  3. ^ "The History and Legacy of the United States Coast Guard Cutter BOUTWELL (WHEC 719)" (PDF). Retrieved 20 October 2019.
  4. ^ Mellon History United States Coast Guard, p. 1, 21 June 2008,

External links

Media related to USCGC Mellon (WHEC-717) at Wikimedia Commons

  • USCGC Mellon Home Page