US Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126) became the second fast patrol cutter to be stationed in Hawaii after arriving in Honolulu on Sunday.
The 154-foot fast response cutters cutters are designed to patrol coastal regions and feature advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance equipment, including the ability to launch and recover standardized small boats from the stern.
The Joseph Gerczak is the second of three Honolulu-based FRCs that will primarily serve the main Hawaiian Islands.
Joseph Gerczak, the cutter’s namesake, was killed while defending USS LST-66 from Japanese bombers during an American assault on Borgen Bay in New Britain, Dec. 26, 1943. Gerczak was the first to react when the enemy bombing began and shot down two of the attackers before he was fatally 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 crew of LST-66 for their actions in the battle.
The Coast Guard is acquiring 58 FRCs to replace the 110-foot Island-class patrol boats. The FRCs are designed for missions including search and rescue; fisheries enforcement; drug and migrant interdiction; ports, waterways and coastal security; and national defense. The Coast Guard took delivery of Joseph Gerczak Nov. 9, 2017, in Key West, Fla. The crew then transited more than 8,400 miles to Hawaii.
A commissioning ceremony is scheduled March 9.