posted 12-28-2013 12:18 PM
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Point Charles (WPB 82361), featured on some cover depictions here, was stationed at Cape/Port Canaveral from 1967-88. To use a term for it as a "launch security" cover may be misleading a bit, in my opinion.
The ship's purposes were many-fold during a shuttle launch, however, the 82-foot-long patrol boat with a crew of eight aboard did help to control law enforcement in and around the Cape/Port areas.
But the primary assignment of the USCGC Point Charles throughout her career on the waters of the Florida Space Coast was mainly aerospace-related search, rescue and recovery operations.
It was an unusual task for a coast guard vessel, however, in-between rocket and missile shots from the Cape, the Point Charles did perform more routine maritime operations.
For instance, in March 1968, she had towed the disabled F/V Scalaweg about 80 miles west-southwest of Key West to safe waters.
Another point to possibly consider were the address line-type rubber stamps that we see applied at top left on many covers like this. If I recall, going back to the early shuttle program of the 1980s, not all of the rubber stamps used on covers like this were in fact originated from the designated ship(s) they pertain to, or even at their port-assigned stations.
It's my belief that some such covers with coast guard and other involved ship affiliations that we see with rubber stamp addresses — were in fact — commercially produced by space cover dealer(s).
But I am not, of course, implying that ALL coast guard ship return-address markings that we see on many similar space covers are not genuine. For sure, many/most are indeed authentic.