The Coast Guard Cutter Mendota was stationed in Wilmington from January 1947 until February 1972, participating in ocean patrols, law enforcement and search and rescue operations.
It was one of 13 nearly identical 255-foot cutters designed during World War II.
The Mendota was commissioned on June 2, 1945, according to its official U.S. Coast Guard history.
It was stationed in Boston from April 1946 until January 1947, when it was moved to Wilmington.
In the late 40s, the cutter participated in several ice patrol missions in the North Atlantic.
Over the years, the crew participated in a long list of law enforcement and search and rescue missions while at sea.
In August 1955, it rescued 46 crew members and a dog from the Portuguese vessel Ilhavense Segundo.
In January 1969, the Mendota left Wilmington for deployment off the coast of Vietnam, where it conducted patrols and served as a support ship for smaller Navy and Coast Guard patrol boats.
The Mendota also provided naval gunfire, striking targets on the Vietnamese coast.
In addition, the ship provided humanitarian relief and medical evacuation duties while off the coast of Vietnam.
In November 1969, the Mendota returned to Wilmington after traveling more than 60,000 miles and transiting the Panama Canal in both directions on the mission, which also took the ship to Hawaii, Guam, Bangkok, Thailand, Kaohsiung, Formosa and Subic Bay in the Philippines.
After leaving Wilmington, the Mendota was taken to New Bedford, Mass. It was permanently decommissioned on Nov. 1, 1973 and mothballed. It was sold for scrap in 1978.
Date posted: March 12, 2010
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