US Coast Guard commissions 30th fast response cutter

USCGC Robert Ward, arriving in San Francisco, Feb. 22, 2019. Photo: US Coast Guard

The US Coast Guard commissioned its 30th fast response cutter (FRC), in a ceremony in San Francisco, California, on March 2.

The USCGC Robert Ward is the second of four planned FRCs to be stationed in San Pedro.

Robert Ward, the namesake of the cutter, served as a seaman 1st class on USS Joseph T. Dickman during the battle of Normandy. While serving as coxswain in the first wave of landings, he successfully landed his troops despite enemy oppression. Ward then heroically went back to guide to safety two other crews whose boats had been destroyed by enemy mortar fire. For his conspicuous gallantry in action, Ward was awarded the Silver Star.

FRCs have a maximum speed of over 28 knots, a range of 2,500 nautical miles and an endurance of at least five days. The ships are designed for multiple missions, including drug and migrant interdiction; ports, waterways and coastal security; fishery patrols; search and rescue; and national defense. They feature advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment; over-the-horizon cutter boat deployment to reach vessels of interest; and improved habitability and seakeeping.

The Coast Guard has ordered 50 FRCs to date. Thirty are in service: 12 in Florida, six in Puerto Rico, two each in Alaska, New Jersey, Mississippi, Hawaii, North Carolina and California. Future FRC homeports include Galveston, Texas; Santa Rita, Guam; Astoria, Oregon; and Kodiak, Seward and Sitka, Alaska.

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