Save USS Shackle/USCGC Acushnet
I'm Ltjg. Davan Scott, Commanding Officer of Twin Ports Division, U.S. Navy Cadets, here in Duluth, MN. The reason our unit is creating this page, is because our command has an excellent opportunity, not just for us, but, our region and country as a whole.
We currently volunteer our time to help crew a decommissioned Coast Guard Cutter, the USCGC Sundew and have been regularly searching for a vessel of our own over the course of 6 years now. A couple of other Navy Cadet units operate some small vessels on the lower lakes, but, there is no boat on the upper lakes region. Being that we live in the world's largest freshwater harbor, it seems odd that there is nothing to this capacity in Duluth.
Recent events have come about to turn our search into a reality. As the cadet corps cannot own property, we are seeking support in both finances and holdings to acquire the vessel.
Twin Ports Division, has been in communication with officials in Anacortes, WA, over the sale of a retired, 213' Navy/Coast Guard vessel. The former USS Shackle/USCGC Acushnet. Built in 1943, it has seen action with the Navy in WWII as the salvage ship, USS Shackle. It assisted damaged ships, cleared the channels in wake of Pearl Harbor, and was involved with the landings in Okinawa and Iwo Jima. In 1946 when transferred to the Coast Guard, the vessel was renamed USCGC Acushnet and made 27 drug busts large and small while operating around the United States throughout it's career. It was also the last WWII veteran to still operate within the U.S. Military. In 2011, it was decommissioned and was sold to the civilian sector for $1.1 million. The ship is currently in the custody of a shipyard in Washington state where it has been on the open market now for years. Just waiting, fully functional. Since the ship is military specific in design, not much interest has been shown from buyers, leaving this historic ships' fate uncertain.
Our unit found out about the ship a month and a half ago (January 10th) which is now only going for $250,000 and we were told by the broker that the price is negotiable, as the shipyard just wants to get rid of it since it's just taking up space. It has nearly all of its equipment still onboard, fully functional with an estimated 50,000 gallons of fuel still onboard. The ship is sitting, waiting. Our unit would benefit from acquiring this historic ship as we would finally have a permanent duty station again for our unit. We used to drill at the Navy Reserve Center in Duluth, until it closed in the early 2000's. We currently drill out of the American Legion in West Duluth During the winter months, and on the Sundew during the summer. This makes things very difficult for us at times.
Twin Ports Division of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps.(USNSCC) is a national, non-profit, that is chartered through the U.S. Navy and U.S. Navy League, for training Cadets AGES: 13-18, the same skills found out in the fleet, at the reserve and active duty level. Since the Navy Cadet Corps. is sanctioned by the Department of the Navy and Secretary of the Navy, the USNSCC is recognized as a military entity, in which, cadets also wear the same uniforms as active sailors. Cadets are not obligated to join any branch of the military after a successful completion of their enlistment in the Corps; however, if they choose to join the military, they will be eligible for advancement after completing Recruit Training. The first 3 ranks they achieve in the Corps.(E-1 to E-3) are their ranks if they choose to go active in the Navy or Coast Guard. All other branches are normally E-2, due to the differences in the non-maritime services. If a military path isn't desired after successful completion of their time in Twin Ports Division, college scholarships can also be attained through the Navy Cadet Corps. Please view the pictures on this page and our website to see Twin Ports Division in action. Our command specializes in Medical and Damage Control.(shipboard fire fighting)
We are seeking aid from organizations for assistance on this opportunity of a lifetime! We would like to acquire the ship and have it here in Duluth. Our goal is to return it to it's navy colors and use the ship as our permanent duty station, and sail it of course. We aren't stopping there however. We would also like to use the ship to:
-Train other navy cadet units that are not near water on a national level
-Train naval reserve and coast guard personnel
-Work with local and national first responder agencies
-Be a source of harbor security/search and rescue
-Aid in Limnology(Study of the lakes)and scientific research with the EPA and universities
-Host a multitude of public relation missions
-Remain a living piece of maritime history (Acushnet is the last WWII ship to serve in the military)
-Continue to teach maritime trades and navy life to young adults
-Support and stimulate our local economy through community involvement
I know this is something that many organizations, companies and industries would be foolish NOT to be involved with. The outpouring of support for this undertaking at the local and national level, is an opportunity for businesses to be a part of something that they can be proud of and market themselves too. It will benefit the Port of Duluth by having an iconic piece of history that we can all stand behind as Duluth is very proud of it's history, preservation of history, and contributions to the nation on all fronts through production and trade.
We have heard recently from the shipyard that there are other parties looking at this vessel. The shipyard folks know that we will best suit the ship and its needs but they can do little for us if someone buys it from under us. Twin Ports Division is currently sending a crew to inspect the vessel in the coming weeks. They said, even if we provide a small down payment ($25,000 or 10%), that it would lock in the ship for us. Being that this opportunity of a lifetime was brought to us a little over a month ago, it was short notice on our end and we don't want to lose this moment. We are willing to offer those that contribue more than $5,000 to acquiring the vessel, the chance to visit and sail on the ship with us if we are able to aqcuire it. If we are not able to get the ship in time, your funding will be put towards the next vessel we come across, even if it takes another 6 years to find it. Any amount of funding helps. Even if it's just a dollar. Again, even enough to put a 10% ($25,000) down payment would be all the difference in the world. When we reach our goal, any extra funds will go towards the funding of bringing the ship home from Washington state to the Great Lakes a journey of almost 10,000 miles. Lets hit that $250,000!!!
Please share this with anyone that you think would be able to help as this is something that should not be looked over. This is a no-brainer win, for Twin Ports Division, our region and the country alike. With all of the trouble in the world, how good would it feel to know you've contributed to something that is good and benefits all, and that will train current and future generations? Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing back from you all soon.
Ltjg. Davan Scott, Commanding Officer
Twin Ports Division, USNSCC
Unit Website: www.twinportsnscc.com
On a side but equally wonderful note we have sent several more former crew members of the vessel to do further testing on machinery and condition. We have learned that through those inspections that most of the remaining systems we were unable to test due to a bad circuit breaker on one of the boards have been tested and function properly. We have also learned that during that same inspection all of the ships service generators were fired up for the first time in several years, ran flawlessly, and were tested under full load for several hours and had no issues operating the many ships systems, lights and infrastructure. That being said it didnt go without its troubles either. The previous owner did not properly secure many of the ventilation systems and vent doors on the weather deck allowing moisture and water to ingress albeit in very small amounts causing some deterioration in the ventilation system rusting up several of the fan motors. This is much better than we had hoped.
This leaves one major final hurdle to fully acquiring the vessel, testing the Main Diesel Engines and the motors for propulsion, if all goes well we will have fully succeeded in our mission. Thank you for all of your support so far and we hope to count on more support and word of mouth to keep our effort moving!
Today we also had a meeting with our congressman's cabinet (Rick Nolan) for support of "Operation Shackle" They are excited for this great opportunity for our region and will be providing aid to this endeavor however possible.
Shame if she goes back to the Navy colors. Really enjoyed her in her Coast Guard colors. When I was married , this was my husbands first boat for the Coast Guard (1994-1997). Some wonderful memories of her. Hope you are able to acquire her. She is a beautiful boat and would make a great addition to the Great Lakes.
Great initiative to repurpose a real USS/USCGC. If purchased, what are the estimated costs to bring the vessel up to proper sailing condition (clean the fuel, PMS, etc)? Also, what are the costs associated with sailing it from its current location to the Lakes (operating costs, port calls, crewing, etc)? Lastly, what are the estimated costs for the next 5-10years (docksides, drydocks, PMS, standard maintenance, docking fees, etc)? Again, great effort but these costs need to be taken into consideration and advertised prior to jumping into the purchased of a 75+ year old ship otherwise it will end up glued to another pier.
Where will the money go now that the Acushnet has gone to Ocean Guardian ?
I served aboard the USCGC Acushnet in 1978/1979 in the engine room. Have several fond memories. Ports of call included the Bahamas, Jamaica, GITMO, Fort Lauderdale, and Charleston S.C. Would really like to see her maintain her Coast Guard colors, but will settle for that drab squid gray if it keeps her out of the scrap heap. What is her status now?