US Coast Guard’s National Security Cutter Bertholf (WMSL-750) and its 170 crew departed Alameda on January 20, for a patrol in the Western Pacific Ocean.
Bertholf will be operating in support of United States Indo-Pacific Command, which oversees military operations in the region. As part of its planned operations, the cutter will engage in professional exchanges and capacity building with partner nations.
Commenting on the deployment, Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, commander Coast Guard Pacific Area acknowledged the current lapse in appropriations and government shutdown has added stress and feelings of uncertainty to the typical emotions that surround a cutter departure.
“I know it is hard for these crews to be leaving behind their dependents and spouses – it’s a thousand times more so when everyone is wondering when our next paycheck will be, and how they can support the family they are leaving behind,” Fagan said.
“There has been an incredible outpouring of support for the families here in the Alameda area, but the tension and the anxiety for the crew is real,” said Fagan. “We are standing by to help support those families who are left behind the same way that we are going to support the crew as they sail for the Western Pacific.”
“I’m excited to see Bertholf sail today to the Indo-Pacific region of operations,” added Fagan, who described the cutter as one of the most capable in the Coast Guard fleet.
“They will be serving alongside other DoD military forces, particularly the US Navy, and I know they will contribute key capabilities to that mission set. This crew has worked incredibly hard to get ready for today’s sailing, and I can’t think of a better ship and crew to be sending to the Indo-Pacific.”
Commissioned in 2008, Bertholf is the first of the Coast Guard’s legend class national security cutters. These advanced ships are 418-feet long, 54-feet wide, and have a 4,600 long-ton displacement. They have a top speed in excess of 28 knots, a range of 12,000 nautical miles, endurance of up to 90 days and can hold a crew of up to 170.
National security cutters feature advanced command and control capabilities, aviation support facilities, stern cutter boat launch and increased endurance for long-range patrols to disrupt threats to national security further offshore.
The Coast Guard is scheduled to commission its seventh national security cutter, the Coast Guard Cutter Kimball, in 2019. Kimball, along with the Midgett, which is currently under construction, will be homeported in Honolulu and will enhance the Coast Guard’s presence throughout the Indo-Pacific.