The Coast Guard At War

Transports and Escorts

Historical Section, Public Information Division
U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters
May 1, 1949

CGC Unalga (WPG-53)

Commissioning and Description

The Revenue Cutter Unalga was built by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company under a contract signed June 1911, for $250,000.00. She was launched at Newport news, Virginia, on February 10, 1912, Miss Elizabeth Hilles being the sponsor. She was 190 feet long, 32 feet 6 inches beam molded, with a draft of 14 feet 1 inch and a displacement of 1181 tons. her gross tonnage was 808 tons. She had a steel hull and was steam powered. She was commissioned at Arundel Cove on May 23, 1912. On September 26, 1912, she left Norfolk, Virginia to report Commanding Officer, Northern Division, Pacific Coast, travelling via Gibraltar. She arrived at Port Townsend on March 22, 1913, and was assigned to the Bering Sea Fleet March 27th.

At San Juan, Puerto Rico

During World War II, the Unalga was stationed at San Juan, Puerto Rico. San Juan, being the headquarters of the 10th Naval District, was assigned more ships and craft than any other single port in the District, with a view that these vessels would be best located at the main port of the District, its adequate defense in times of emergency; in this way these same units, being extremely mobile, could be assigned temporarily from time to time to threatened areas, or to areas in which submarines were extremely active, returning to San Juan when the condition had ceased to exist. Further, they could be made available at any time for special patrols in the vicinity of Puerto Rico proper, or in outlying areas within the boundaries of the District, wt undue detriment to the overall defense of the nerve centers of the District's military organizations. To San Juan, Therefore, were allocated the Coast Guard cutters Unalga, Marlow, Crawford, Lotus and Spruce, all being sizable cutters with fairly adequate armament and anti-submarine fighting facilities. Twenty-six other craft, ranging in size from 12 to 83 feet in length were assigned to San Juan and operated from there during the entire time they were attached to the District.
Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey, HyperWar Foundation