U.S. Coast Guard Cutter USCGC Harriet Lane Recreates Historical Civil War Moment

The U.S. Coast Guard medium endurance cutter USCGC Harriet Lane (WMEC-903) sailed past Fort Sumter near Charleston, South Carolina on April 5, 2018. Harriet Lane’s crew fired a blank round in order to honor the 157th anniversary of when its predecessor of the same name fired the first naval shots of the Civil War.

The U.S. Revenue Cutter Service’s USRC Harriet Lane (1857) fired across the bow of the merchant vessel Nashville when it attempted to enter Charleston Harbor without displaying the national flag.

USCGC Harriet Lane (WMEC-903)

USCGC Harriet Lane (WMEC-903) is a United States Coast Guard’s 270-foot Famous-class medium endurance cutter. The ship is named after Harriet Lane, niece and official hostess of President James Buchanan.

Harriet Lane was constructed by Tacoma Boatbuilding, Tacoma, Washington and delivered 20 April 1984. Harriet Lane was commissioned on 14 June 1984. The cutter is homeported in Portsmouth, Virginia.

Entering service in the 1980s, the Famous-class cutters were designed as replacements for the 327-foot (100 m) Treasury-class cutters, and their mission profile emphasized law enforcement, particularly patrolling the newly established 200-mile (320 km) exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The Coast Guard harvested weapons systems components from decommissioned Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates to save money. Equipment such as the Mark 75, 76 mm/62 caliber gun mounts, gun control panels, barrels, launchers, junction boxes, and other components from decommissioned Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates were returned to service aboard Famous-class cutters in order to extend their service lives into the 2030s.

The Famous class cutters are the only medium endurance cutters in the Coast Guard equipped with a hanger which can accommodate either a single HH-65 Dolphin, or HH-60J Jayhawk helicopter.

There are 13 vessels in the Famous class still in active US service. The Coast Guard plans to eventually phase out the vessels in both of these cutter classes and replace them with the Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC, Heritage-class cutter) as part of the Integrated Deepwater System Program.

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