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This ship was a United States Coast Guard Cutter that served in the Coast Guard for almost forty one years.

United States
Name: USCGC Legare
Namesake: Hugh Swinton Legare
Owner: United States Coast Guard
Builder: American Brown Boveri Electrical Corp., Camden, New Jersey
Cost: $63,173.00
Launched: February 14, 1927
Commissioned: March 17, 1927
Decommissioned: March 5, 1968
Reclassified: WMEC-144 in 1966
Fate: decommissioned
General characteristics
Class and type: Active Class Patrol Boat
Displacement: 232 tons
Length: 125 feet
Beam: 23 feet, 6 inches
Draft: 7 feet, 6 inches
Propulsion: 2 x 6-cylinder, 300 hp engins

3,500 nmi (6,500 km; 4,000 mi)

At max. speed: 2,500 nmi (4,600 km; 2,900 mi)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
2 long boats
Complement: 20 men (3 officers, 17 enlisted men)


Naming of ShipEdit

The Legare was named in honor of Hugh Swinton Legare the 16th Attorney General of the United States. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, on January 2, 1797, he graduated from the College of South Carolina in 1814. For the next three years he studied law, then traveled in Europe, studying French in Paris, Roman law, philosophy, math and chemistry in Edinborough. Upon his return to South Carolina in 1820, he was elected to the South Carolina State Legislature. He served until 1822, and from 1824 to 1830 when he was elected State attorney general. In 1832, he was Chargé d'Affaires at Brussels. Upon his return to the United States, he was elected to Congress. He served from 1837 until 1839. President Tyler appointed him Attorney General of the United States in 1841. He died in Boston, Massachusetts, on June 20, 1843, while attending ceremonies at the unveiling of the Bunker Hill Monument.

Class HistoryEdit

This class of vessels was one of the most useful and long- lasting in Coast Guard service with 16 cutters still in use in the 1960s. The last to be decommissioned from active service was the Morris in 1970; the last in actual service was the Cuyahoga, which sank after an accidental collision in 1978. They were designed for trailing the "mother ships" along the outer line of patrol during Prohibition. They were constructed at a cost of $63,173 each. They gained a reputation for durability that was only enhanced by their re-engining in the late 1930s; their original 6-cylinder diesels were replaced by significantly more powerful 8-cylinder units that used the original engine beds and gave the vessels 3 additional knots. All served in World War II, but two, the Jackson and Bedloe, were lost in a storm in 1944. Ten were refitted as buoy tenders during the war and reverted to patrol work afterward.

Cutter HistoryEdit

USCGC Legare, a patrol craft of the 125-foot class, was built by American Brown Boveri Electrical Corp., Camden, New Jersey. She commissioned 17 March 1927 and patrolled out of New London, Connecticut as part of the Coast Guard's campaign against rumrunners. In 1929, the Legare pursued and seized a rumrunner, the Flor Del Mar, which was promptly abandoned by its crew. In 1931 she transferred to Pascagoula, Mississippi, to patrol the gulf coast.

In pre-World War II years Legare was stationed at Norfolk, Virginia. After the United States' entry into World War Two, in accordance with Executive Order 8929 of 1 November 1941, she began to operate as part of the Navy. Fitted out to tend lighthouses, buoys, and other aids to navigation, she operated in inland and east coast waters. She also served on coastal patrol and rescue duty.

While on patrol 19 March 1942 Legare received word of a submarine contact eight miles south of Hatteras. She steamed to the area, made contact, and attacked with all eight of her depth charges. Oil, debris, and air bubbles were observed on the scene, but the sinking of a submarine at this position on this date was not confirmed by captured documents examined after the war.

Legare picked up three survivors from SS David H. Atwater 2 to 3 April and steamed to Chincoteague with them. On 25 June she was ordered to patrol and convoy escort duty under the Caribbean sea frontier command, and so served until the end of hostilities.

Executive Order 9606 returned Legare to the Treasury Department 1 January 1946. She served as buoy tender out of Brownsville, Texas. She performed patrol as well as search and rescue duties while stationed in New Bedford, Massachusetts; and Freeport, Massachusetts.

On July 26, 1956, the Legare responded in the early morning hours from her homeport of New Bedford, Massachusetts, to the SOS distress signal from the SS Andrea Doria, a large Italian luxury passenger liner. On July 25, 1956, at 11:10 p.m., 45 miles south of Nantucket Island, the Andrea Doria and the Swedish ocean liner MS Stockholm collided in a heavy Atlantic fog. The Stockholm’s special ice cutting designed bow struck the Andrea Doria amidships, which ripped a great hole in the broad side of the Italian vessel.

The Legare was the first U.S. Coast Guard Cutter to respond to and arrive at the scene of the disaster. The Legare was one of many ships that responded to this maritime disaster. The Legare and her crew rescued survivors of the crew and passengers from the Andrea Doria’s lifeboats. The Legare then transported the survivors to larger vessels that had also arrived at the scene in response to the SOS. Vessels like the French Line's SS Île de France that had been eastbound from New York en route to her home port of Le Havre, France.

The Legare was present for the entire rescue operation. After the rescue operation had concluded, the Legare, along with other Coast Guard cutters, used her deck guns to sink abandoned lifeboats from the then sunken Andrea Doria. These lifeboats had been declared a menace to navigation by maritime authorities.[1]

She was redesignated WMEC-144 in 1966 and was reclassified as a Medium Endurance Cutter. She served honorably until she was decommissioned in 1968.


{{Cutter History File. USCG Historian's Office, USCG HQ, Washington, D.C.

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Washington, DC: USGPO.

Robert Scheina. U.S. Coast Guard Cutters & Craft of World War II. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1982.

Robert Scheina. U.S. Coast Guard Cutters & Craft, 1946-1990. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1990.}}

  1. ^ Former US Coast Guardsman serving on Legare in 1956


External linksEdit

  • ^ Former US Coast Guardsman serving on Legare in 1956