Those armaments served it well during the Spanish-American War. In 1898, the cutter was part of the U.S. Asiatic Squadron, which destroyed the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay. After the war, the ship was stationed out of San Francisco and patrolled the entire Pacific coast of the U.S. from Mexico to Cape Blanco, Oregon. It even served in Alaska’s Pribilof Islands, where it enforced seal-hunting regulations and served as a floating courthouse for coastal settlements.
With the outbreak of World War I, the Navy took command of the McCulloch. On June 13, 1917, in heavy fog, it collided with the passenger steamship SS Governor. Luckily all of McCulloch's crew was able to escape to the Governor, though one crewman who was injured during the accident died from his injuries a few days later. Wang reports it only took 35 minutes for the ship to sink 300 feet to bottom of the ocean.
Though the decks of the ship are gone, the ROV team was able to positively ID the cutter using images of the vessel published in 1914. Its 11-foot bronze propeller, guns, torpedo tube and boilers were conclusive evidence that the ship was the McCulloch.
McCulloch and her crew were fine examples of the Coast Guard’s long-standing multi-mission success from a pivotal naval battle with Commodore Dewey, to safety patrols off the coast of California, to protecting fur seals in the Pribilof Islands in Alaska,” Rear Admiral Todd Sokalzuk, commander of the 11th Coast Guard District, says in the press release. “The men and women who crew our newest cutters are inspired by the exploits of great ships and courageous crews like the McCulloch.”
There are no official plans for what to do with the wreck next, but legally it is still property of the U.S. government, and it’s illegal for anyone to disturb the ship—with the exception of the odd sea anemone.