US Coast Guard receives 26th fast response cutter ‘Joseph Gerczak’

Illustration: Bollinger Shipyards photo of USCGC Margaret Norvell

The US Coast Guard has formally accepted the 26th fast response cutter (FRC), Joseph Gerczak, in a ceremony in Key West, Florida, November 9.

The ship will now head to Honolulu where it will be commissioned and homeported as the station’s second FRC. Sister ship ‘Oliver Berry’ was commissioned in Honolulu in September this year.

The US Coast Guard said the USCGC Joseph Gerczak was delivered with zero production discrepancies, indicating improved stability and efficiency in the production process.

The 154-foot FRC is named after Joseph Gerczak who was killed while defending USS LST-66 from Japanese bombers during an American assault on Borgen Bay in New Britain on Dec. 26, 1943. Gerczak was the first to react when the enemy bombing began and shot down two of the attackers before he was mortally wounded by shrapnel from an explosion. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star as well as a presidential unit commendation awarded to the crewmembers of LST-66 for their actions in the battle.

The Coast Guard has ordered 44 of the 58 FRCs planned. Twenty-four are in service: one in Honolulu; one in Pascagoula, Mississippi; two in Ketchikan, Alaska; two in Cape May, New Jersey; six in Miami; six in Key West, Florida; and six in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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