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History of USCGC TAHOMA (WMEC 908)

MISSION, HISTORY, AND FACTS

Tahoma crest

USCGC TAHOMA's Mission:

TAHOMA's primary mission is safety of life and property at sea. Most of TAHOMA's operational hours are devoted to maritime law enforcement. While on patrol, boarding teams from TAHOMA are on the front line reducing the flow of illicit drugs and other contraband into the United States. TAHOMA's law enforcement role also includes protecting living marine resources, ensuring mariner compliance with vessel safety regulations and interdicting illegal migrants.

In accordance with our Coast Guard motto "Semper Paratus" (Always Ready), the 270' TAHOMA has the ability to launch, recover, and service the Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin and HH-60 Jayhawk helicopters. These cutter-aircraft teams greatly extend the capabilities of both units, making TAHOMA an effective floating air station. In meeting her national defense tasking, TAHOMA is outfitted with modern surface search radar and electronic surveillance systems. The installed Mark75/76 mm fully automatic gun system can fire at a rate of 80 rounds per minute. The gun system is controlled by the MK 92 fire control system capable of tracking and engaging both surface and high-speed air targets. TAHOMA's unique capabilities make her an ideal platform for low intensity conflicts, coastal surveillance missions and port security roles. The heart of TAHOMA's combat and control systems is SCCS (Shipboard Command and Control System), a modern computerized system developed specifically for the Coast Guard to collect and correlate data from the cutter's radars, closed circuit televisions, electronic surveillance, navigation and communications systems. SCCS enables TAHOMA to process extensive tactical information with reduced shipboard manpower.

Combining all these qualities with a tightly knit, well trained crew enables Coast Guard cutters such as TAHOMA to perform many different missions and provides the United States a very cost effective and non-redundant armed service. This is a capability associated only with the U.S. Coast Guard; gainfully employed in peacetime and ready for immediate service in the event of war. All these qualities have worked to make the name of TAHOMA a proud one on the seas for over eighty years and she has exemplified the qualities chosen as the ship's motto: "Courage, Justice, Compassion."  TAHOMA's History On June 28, 1983, the keel was laid for the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter TAHOMA (WMEC 908). The TAHOMA is the eighth of thirteen "Famous Class" cutters, and the third cutter to bear the proud name of TAHOMA. The name TAHOMA is the Northwest Pacific Indian word that refers to the principal and most beautiful mountain peak of the Cascade Mountain range. In 1792 English explorers renamed the peak Mount Rainier, which is located in modern-day Washington State.

In 1909, the first cutter TAHOMA was commissioned in the Revenue Cutter Service, the forerunner of the present day Coast Guard. She measured 192 feet in length with a complement of eight officers and 61 crewmembers. From 1910 to 1914, the Revenue Cutter TAHOMA performed annual Bering Sea patrols. Her multiple missions included transporting food and medical supplies to native villages, enforcing fishing and marine mammal hunting laws, and maintaining a presence along the Alaskan coast.  On September 20, 1914, she struck an uncharted reef. All hands were safely rescued and the reef now bears her name.

The second TAHOMA was built in 1934, measured 165 feet in length and was crewed by six officers and 56 enlisted. Although designed for light icebreaking work on the Great Lakes, TAHOMA saw action during World War II as an escort for military convoys transiting coastal routes between the Northeastern United States, the Canadian Provinces, and Greenland. Following the conclusion of World War II she returned to her duties on the Great Lakes until she was decommissioned in 1947. In 1952 she was returned to active service to function as the Cold War guard ship at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The second TAHOMA was permanently decommissioned in July 1953.  The newest TAHOMA, with her crew of 14 officers and 86 enlisted, was delivered and home-ported in New Bedford, Massachusetts on August 12, 1987. She received a commission into active Coast Guard service on April 6, 1988. Following the September 11,  2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centers, TAHOMA was the first major U.S. military asset on scene. TAHOMA took charge of over thirty Coast Guard cutters and small boats patrolling the harbor, protecting lower Manhattan and establishing security zones around numerous historical sites along the waterways and approaches to New York City.

The TAHOMA moved to her current homeport of Portsmouth, New Hampshire in September 2003. The cutter works under the operational control of Coast Guard Atlantic Area and is at sea approximately 185 days a year, upholding the proud history of the TAHOMA name for 21 years. During a typical 60 day patrol, the TAHOMA is capable of performing a variety of Coast Guard missions. Supporting the proud history of the TAHOMA name over the past 21 years, the latest CGC TAHOMA has maintained a strong reputation and a presence of readiness from the North Atlantic to the Caribbean Sea. COAT OF ARMS  Image of TAHOMA's Coat of Arms  SYMBOLISMSHIELD: The red and white stripes suggest the ensigns of the Revenue Cutter Service and Coast Guard and reflect the long history of cutters named TAHOMA in these services. The divided pile with white upper section symbolizes the meaning of the Indian word "tahoma" or "now peak"

The lower blue zig-zag pattern alludes to the oceanic regions sailed by all cutters named TAHOMA. The naval sword reflects the current TAHOMA's national defense missions and, when combined with the scales of justice, implies the cutter's maritime law enforcement missions.CREST: The two sea lions are emblematic of the courage and determination of the past and present crew of the cutters TAHOMA. The iceberg alludes to the first TAHOMA's service on the Bering Sea and the second TAHOMA's service as both a Great Lakes icebreaker and World War II North Atlantic convoy escort assigned to the Greenland Patrol. The three oars suggest the three cutters named TAHOMA and the maritime safety activities conducted by each. The anchor connecting the two sea lions symbolizes the continuing tradition of maritime service to the nation passed from the Revenue Cutter Service to the Coast Guard.  TAHOMA's Motto TAHOMA's Motto:

The cutter's motto, "Courage, Justice, Compassion" bonds the spirits of the past and present TAHOMAs. "Courage" signifies the willingness of each TAHOMA to face both the elements and enemy actions while conducting their many missions. "Justice" indicates the primary employment of the first and third TAHOMAs for enforcement of maritime laws and treaties. "Compassion" expresses the readiness of each TAHOMA to assist mariners in distress.  TAHOMA's Nickname.

The "Mighty T" has been adopted as TAHOMA's nickname. This was the nickname used by the USCGC TAHOMA (WPG-80) during World War II.