INGHAM's History -- Post-Vietnam

Courtesy of the Coast Guard Historian's Office

INGHAM then changed homeports to Portsmouth, Virginia, where she served out the remainder of her Coast Guard career. In the latter part of 1969, she served on the following ocean stations: from 2 July through 4 August she served on Ocean Station Delta; from 8 September to 1 October she was on Bravo; from 16 December to 8 January 1970 she served on Ocean Station Charlie. In 1970 she served on: 22 June to 15 July she served on Ocean Station Delta; 26 August to 18 September on Ocean Station Charlie. In 1971 she served on: Ocean Station Hotel from 7 to 16 January; Ocean Station Echo from 22 January to 12 February; Ocean Station Delta from 24 March to 16 April; Ocean Station Bravo from 13 June to 6 July; Ocean Station Delta from 27 August to 20 September; Ocean Station Echo from 5 to 25 November. In 1973 she served on: Ocean Station Charlie from 30 March to 23 April; Ocean Station Bravo from 7 to 28 August; Ocean Station Echo from 8 to 30 October; and from 13 December 1972 to 3 January 1973 she once again served on Ocean Station Charlie. In 1973 INGHAM served on: Ocean Station Hotel from 20 February to 1 March; Ocean Station Bravo from 7 to 27 March; Ocean Station Echo from 23 May to 12 June; and Ocean Station Charlie from 16 August to 6 September.

In 1974 she served on: Ocean Station Bravo from 9 to 30 January and Ocean Station Hotel from 9 to 26 March and sailed on a cadet cruise that summer along with the cutters Chase and Duane. While this Coast Guard training squadron was en route to Oslo, Norway, INGHAM rammed the 131-foot fishing vessel Cape Hood on 11 June 1974 while 30 miles east of Cape Canco, Nova Scotia, causing damage above the waterline to both vessels but no injuries among either crew. The Cape Hood, in no danger of sinking, continued on to Halifax for repairs while INGHAM continued on the training cruise without further incident. She served on Ocean Station Hotel the following year, from 6 to 26 March and again from 3 to 24 October 1975. Her final ocean station duty came at the last ocean station in commission, Ocean Station Hotel, where she served from 16 January to 6 February 1976.

With the demise of the ocean station program, made obsolete by advancements made in radio and satellite navigation systems, the larger Coast Guard cutters began to concentrate on law enforcement and fisheries patrols, especially after the passage of the Fisheries Conservation and Management Act, as well as their traditional search and rescue responsibilities. The cutters' proven design, emphasizing versatility and reliability, made the remaining Treasury class cutters capable of keeping up with these changing missions.

INGHAM departed New London, Connecticut on 2 June 1976 on a cadet training cruise. Her radar failed while she was 80 miles out and then steamed for Boston to undertake repairs. After arriving in Boston on 4 June, as she came into her mooring, she rammed a concrete pier, causing damage to her bow but was repaired and returned to service. She sailed on another cadet cruise the following year as well.

In 1979 she sailed on another cadet cruise, this one taking ten weeks. While on the cruise, on 4 July 1979, crewmen boarded and seized a 75-foot Honduran fishing trawler Mary Ann, where the boarding team discovered 15-tons of marijuana. She first attempted to evade the boarding, actually ramming INGHAM, causing damage. The trawler hove to after INGHAM fired a number of shots across her bow and a few directly at the vessel. Also on this cruise INGHAM responded to a number of search and rescue missions, including towing the Panamanian merchant vessel El Don over 300 miles to safety in Puerto Rico. INGHAM rescued two persons from an American yacht that sank off San Juan and searched for a disabled pleasure craft off Ocean City, Maryland while the cutter was en route to Portsmouth.

In 1982 she seized the vessel Misfit carrying 35 tons of marijuana. She continued sailing on cadet cruises, introducing Coast Guard Academy cadets to life in the Coast Guard, one in 1984 and again in 1985.

Recognizing the obvious, that INGHAM was aged and becoming more difficult and expensive to keep sea-ready, the Coast Guard ordered her decommissioned on 27 May 1988, soon after she finished her final patrol, which took place in the Caribbean from October through November of 1987. She was the last Treasury class cutter in Coast Guard service at that time, and her hull numbers had been painted in gold as of 1 August 1985 with the decommissioning of her sister Duane, signifying her status as the oldest cutter in commission. Her ultimate fate was better than her sisters, however, (except for TANEY, which ended up as a museum ship in Baltimore, Maryland) when she was donated to the Patriots Point Maritime Museum in Charleston, South Carolina as a museum ship. In 2009 she transferred to Key West, Florida, as the centerpiece of the "USCGC INGHAM Memorial Museum" located on the Truman Waterfront.

At her retirement INGHAM was the most decorated vessel in the Coast Guard fleet and was the only cutter to ever be awarded two Presidential Unit Citations.


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