US Coast Guard receives 24th fast response cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124)

Photo: Bollinger Shipyards

The U.S. Coast Guard accepted its 24th fast response cutter, USCGC Oliver Berry (WPC 1124), in a ceremony at Coast Guard Sector Key West on Tuesday.

Built by Bollinger Shipyards, the cutter is 154-feet long and has a crew complement of 24. It will be homeported in Honolulu.

The Oliver Berry is tentatively scheduled for commissioning in October in Honolulu. It is the first Fast Response Cutter to be stationed in the Coast Guard’s 14th Coast Guard District, which covers the state of Hawaii, the U.S. territories of Guam and American Samoa, various Pacific Island nations and parts of Asia.

The cutter’s namesake, Oliver Berry, is the first enlisted helicopter mechanic in naval aviation history and was an instrumental part in pioneering the use of the helicopter for search and rescue after World War II. In September 1946, he successfully disassembled a helicopter in Brooklyn, New York, organized transportation from New York to Newfoundland, Canada, and reassembled the helicopter for use to rescue 18 stranded passengers of a Belgian airliner that crashed near Gander, Newfoundland. He subsequently received the Silver Medal of the Order of Leopold II from the Belgian monarchy for his efforts.

The fast response cutter is replacing the aging Island-class 110-foot patrol boats, and is capable of achieving speeds of more than 32 mph (28 knots) with an endurance of five days. The Coast Guard is in the middle of the FRC acquisition program, with plans to procure a total of 58 vessels.

Oliver Berry is designed for multiple missions, including law enforcement, fisheries enforcement, waterways and coastal security, search and rescue, and national defense.

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