started in 1843 when the original USRC
was commissioned to serve in the Revenue Cutter Service. An Iron
hulled steamer, hull designation "R", she was converted to a
lightship after the Mexican War. She then served at Willoughby Spit
off Hampton Roads, Virginia from 1847 to 1867. She was named after
former Secretary of the Treasury John Canfield Spencer, who served
in President Tyler's administration. On October 15, 1844, Henry Hoff
was commissioned Asst. Engineer of the USRC Spencer.
The second cutter to carry the
was hull number
W-36, commissioned in 1937. At an overall length of 327 feet, she
first started service as a search and rescue unit patrolling
Alaska's fishing grounds. After the
United States entered WWII, the
Coast Guard temporarily became part of the U.S. Navy.
saw significant combat action in both
and Pacific theaters. In the "Battle
Atlantic", she acted as a convoy escort and
hunted German submarines,
sinking the U-225 and the U-175 in 1944.
In late 1944,
reported to the Navy's Seventh (Pacific) Fleet as a Communications
Command Ship. There she was credited with taking part in numerous
amphibious invasions including Luzon and Palawan in the
Philippines. After the war,
returned to her Coast Guard duties serving as an Atlantic Ocean
Station. Here she provided much needed navigational assistance for
the fledgling trans-Atlantic air industry and more importantly,
acted as a search and rescue platform for both airplanes and ships.
In January 1969,
returned to combat duty off the
Coast of Vietnam. For ten months, she
provided surveillance to prevent troops and supplies from getting
Vietnam. In November 1969,
returned to the
United States to continue her peace
time mission of ocean station keeping.
served the nation for more then 37 years and when decommissioned in
1974, she was the most
decorated cutter in the Coast Guard's fleet.
WMEC-905 is the third cutter to serve the
United States bearing the name "Spencer".
of today had her keel laid on 26 of June, 1982 in the
yards of R.E. Derecktor. She was launched on 17th of April 1984 and
was commissioned into service on 28th of June 1986.
During a law
enforcement patrol in 1987,
arrested 23 people and confiscated more then 46,000 pounds of
marijuana from four smuggling vessels. While on a south patrol in
repatriated 538 Haitian migrants bound for the
United States, and later seized a
Panamanian freighter laden with 438 kilograms of cocaine.
made the headlines again in March of 1991 when she towed a disabled
U.S. Navy frigate, a ship twice
size, to safety.
The same year
participated in the search for a missing Air National Guard
paratrooper during the "Perfect Storm". In 1994,
repatriated over1700 Haitian and Cuban migrants. During
New York City's Annual Fleet Week of 1995,
opened her brow to more then 5000 visitors. In early 1996
responded to the downed Alas Nacionales plane crash off the coastal
waters of the Dominican Republic in which 188 people lost their
lives on April 22, 1997
seized 3905 pounds of cocaine
off the coast of Honduras. When the
fishing vessel Lady of Grace
became disabled during a severe storm in November 1997,
was there to save the crew and tow the vessel to safety. In 1999,
was the on-scene commander for
the tragic Egypt Air Flight 990 crash
off Nantucket, controlling both
U.S. Navy and Coast Guard assets in the search and recovery efforts.
Recently, Spencer worked with
the French warship, Ventose,
to seize 1800 kilograms of pure cocaine off the coast of