n July 1941, Grumman delivered the first of 25 modified commercial G-44s to the U.S. Coast Guard. Designated J4F-1s, these aircraft carried Coast Guard serial numbers V197-V221, the last of the Coast Guard J4F-1s entering service in June 1942. These J4F-1s differed from their civilian counterparts in the addition of a hatch on top of the fuselage for loading stretchers, and a wing rack installed beneath the starboard wing that could hold a depth charge, bomb, raft, or search and rescue gear.
The J4F Widgeon was built as a smaller, less expensive alternative to the G-21 Goose for use in the civilian market, one customer being Pan American Airways, which operated the type as seaplane trainers. In Navy and Coast Guard operations, the airplane flew utility, search and rescue, and antisubmarine missions.