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Whatever happened to the Coast Guard Cutter Mendota?

Merton Vance

The Coast Guard Cutter Mendota. Photo by U.S. Coast Guard

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.

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4 Responses to “ Whatever happened to the Coast Guard Cutter Mendota?”

  1. On March 13, 2010 at 12:06 am Debbie wrote:

    It is a shame it was sold for scrap. Wilmington should have tried to buy it and put it on the waterfront. No they rather waste money on a Convention Center ,, and other wasteful things. The Mendota was a part of my childhood just like the Battleship.. God Bless her and her former crew.

  2. On March 14, 2010 at 3:14 pm scott brown wrote:

    My father was on the Mendota 1954-55 and I remember him talking about picking up the Portuguese sailors and the crew got a case of bed bugs. Have some old photo’s of the ship in the North Atlantic covered in ice.

  3. On September 9, 2014 at 8:17 pm Sandra Goganious David wrote:

    During 1949- January, 1950, the men of the Cutter Mendota donated blood to my mother during her pregnancy so I could be born. They donated 32 pints of blood. She had sickle-cell anemia and they saved our lives.

  4. On September 10, 2014 at 3:52 pm Si Cantwell wrote:

    That’s a wonderful story!

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