USCGC Yocona WAT-168 / WMEC-168

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USS Seize was a Diver-class vessel that was laid down on 28 September 1943 by the Basalt Rock Company, Napa, California.  She was launched on 8 April 1944 and was sponsored by Mrs. Louis Perkins.  She was commissioned at Vallejo, California, on 3 November 1944, under the command of LT Herman B. Conrad, USN.

Following repairs and shakedown, the salvage ship reported for duty on 11 May 1945 at San Francisco.  On 2 June, Seize arrived off the entrance to Pearl Harbor with three pontoon bridges in tow.  Reporting to Service Force Squadron 2 for duty, Seize spent a busy first month in repairs, carrying out radar-jamming experiments, patrolling, and towing.

On 10 July, the salvage vessel got underway with APL-43 in tow for the Marshall Islands, arriving at Eniwetok on the 22d. Seize departed Eniwetok on 4 August, with PB-46 in tow and accompanied by Avoyel (ATF-150). She reached Guam on 13 August.  On 14 August, still towing PB-46, Seize got underway in convoy for Okinawa Shima.  Anchoring there on the 22d, she was relieved of PB-46 the next day, and assisted in salvaging Oberrender (DE-344) from 27 August to 11 September.  Seize departed Okinawa on 17 September.  Arriving by convoy at Shanghai two days later, the salvage ship assisted port activity there by searching for a lost anchor, and aiding Waller (DD-466) in switching berths.  On 10 October, Seize departed Shanghai in company with PC-491 for Pusan, Korea.  After sinking two horned mines by gunfire en route, the ship reached Pusan on the 13th.  Two similar mines were sunk while Seize returned to Shanghai on 16 October.

Seize worked along the Yangtze, removing obstacles, salvaging, towing, and searching, for the remainder of the year.  On 22 October en route to Kichow, the salvage ship was fired upon by a machinegun near a small Yangtze village.  She returned fire with 40 millimeter and .50 caliber rounds, and proceeded on her way one-half hour later when all had quieted down.  One direct hit was received on her foremast and several ricocheted hits were found on the port side, but there was no other damage to the ship or crew.

On 26 and 28 January 1946, Seize replanted the mooring buoy at the Naval Seaplane Area at Lunghwa.  On 11, 18, and 20 February and on 4, 7, 21, and 29 March, Seize laid an underwater telephone cable from San Clemente (AG-79) to the Naval Operating Base, Shanghai.  Seize departed Chinese waters on 31 March, anchoring at Yokosuka, Japan, on 4 April.  The salvage ship picked up APL-31 in tow on the 8th, and set course for the Hawaiian Islands, arriving at Pearl Harbor on the 26th.

Seize arrived at San Francisco on 4 June.  Decommissioned and transferred to the Coast Guard on 28 June 1946, she was struck from the Navy list on 13 November 1946.  After refitting, she was renamed Yocona and was initially stationed at Eureka, California and assigned to law enforcement and search and rescue duties.  In 1954 she transferred to Astoria, Oregon.  On 11 November 1955, 50 miles off Cape Lookout, Oregon in 60 to 70 miles-per-hour winds, she came to the assistance of the disabled and sinking F/V Ocean Pride.  With the seas too heavy to launch lifeboats, the Yocona maneuvered alongside the fishing vessel close enough for the entire crew of 13 to jump on board the cutter safely.  

On the night of 29 September 1959 she rescued 10 survivors of a downed U.S. Navy P5M seaplane that had ditched 110 miles off the Oregon coast.  The Yocona was directed on-scene by a Coast Guard UF amphibian.  On 26 January 1965 she escorted the listing M/V Elaine from 180 miles off Astoria to Tongue Point.  On 13 September 1969 she repaired the engine on the disabled F/V Karre 300 miles southeast of Kodiak Island.  On 6 June 1970 she seized the South Korean F/Vs Tae Yang 203 and Tae Yang 205 for territorial waters' violation off Alaska.  In April, 1978, she seized the M/V Helena Star after Yocona's boarding team discovered 10-tons of marijuana aboard.

She transferred to Kodiak in August, 1983.  On 19 January 1987 she towed the disabled F/V Seattle Star to Unalaska Bay.  On 26 January 1987 she provided medical assistance to the F/V Pacific Enterprise.  On 27 January 1987 she assisted the M/V Tempest off Cape Pankoff after the latter suffered an explosion.  On 7 February 1987 she fought a fire aboard the F/V Amatuli 45 miles east of Cape Pankoff.  On 8 February 1987 she assisted the F/V Fukuyoshi Maru No. 85.  On 20 August 1987 she seized the 66-foot F/V Constitution in Peterson Bay for using illegal gear.

While on a three-week Alaska Fisheries Patrol in February, 1988, she assisted the grounded F/V Last Frontier at Constantine Harbor, Amchitka Island.  She then towed the disabled and flooding fishing vessel safely to Dutch Harbor, after first putting into NAS Adak to dewater her.  The next day, on 28 February, 1988, she fought a fire in cargo hold aboard the processing ship Tempest, which was anchored in Akutan Bay.  The Firebush also responded and an HC-130 dropped fire-fighting equipment to Yocona.  Thirty-nine of the 49 crewmen aboard Tempest were evacuated safely while the rest remained aboard to assist in fighting the fire.  After a 26-hour battle the fire was successfully extinguished.

On her last patrol prior to being decommissioned, Yocona was awarded the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation, with the Operational Distinguishing Device authorized, for services performed from 19 May 1994 to 30 May 1996.  She was responsible for promoting "Safety of Life at Sea" and "enforcing the complex Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act."  The citation stated, in part, that:

YOCONA conducted 153 law enforcement boardings resulting in 56 boating and 11 fisheries Magnuson Act violations.  In addition, YOCONA continued to stop illegal aliens during boardings.  Yocona successfully prosecuted ten Search and Rescue cases which included a vessel saved from grounding.  As the Alaska patrol experts, YOCONA's valuable input to the Seventeenth District has been routinely used for threat assessment planning and improved intelligence products for all cutters.  In March of 1995, YOCONA earned the Pacific Area Cutter Achievement Award at San Diego, California with a final average 98% overall rating.  In November 1995, YOCONA participated in a professional fisheries law enforcement exchange with the Russian Maritime Border Guard Officers on a training visit in Kodiak, Alaska.  YOCONA also completed a half million dollar dry dock availability, overhauled one main engine and one ship service generator, and upgraded every major engineering system during the period.  These accomplishments allowed the 52 year old plus cutter to meet every operational commitment on time.

Yocona was decommissioned on 14 June 1996.


2 Special Operations Ribbons, 2 Humanitarian Service Medals, 3 National Defense Service Medals, the Navy Occupation Service Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the American Campaign Medal, 5 Meritorious Unit Commendations, 2 Coast Guard Unit Commendations.