The Navy developed the N3N as a training aircraft in 1934. The Coast Guard acquired four of the trainers from the Navy beginning in December, 1940 by trading four Grumman JF-2 “Ducks.” The primary reason for the trade was an effort by the Coast Guard to expedite pilot training, which was expanding during this time in anticipation of war. The new trainers were given the tail numbers V193-V196.
The aircraft were assigned to the Charleston Air Station where initial flight training, prior to assignment to Pensacola, took place. Upon closure of CGAS Charleston they were transferred to CGAS Elizabeth City. Later, three of these aircraft assigned to CGAS ST. Petersburg were used as basic trainers to train Mexican Air Force pilots