Coast Guard OUTLOOK 2021 Magazine Summer Edition

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U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star transits the Gastineau Channel to moor up in Juneau, Alaska, on Feb. 12, 2021.

CONTENTS 4 Coast Guard Fleet Recapitalization Continues For the Coast Guard, it’s about time for a stem-to-stern overhaul. By Edward Lundquist

12 Hamilton-class Cutters Were Ahead of Their Time, and Lasted Well Beyond It By Edward Lundquist 16 Off and Running Operationalizing the Coast Guard’s strategy to fight illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing By Craig Collins



24 The Yard USCG Shipyard Curtis Bay’s storied past and vital future By Edward Lundquist



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28 Alex Haley


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The Coast Guard’s first chief journalist became a Pulitzer Prizewinning author. By Craig Collins


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36 The Coast Guard Supports Space Launches and Reentries By Edward Lundquist 38 The Cutters, Boats, and Aircraft of the U.S. Coast Guard

COVER PHOTO: The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick conducts a patrol in Disenchantment Bay, Alaska, near Hubbard Glacier, June 13, 2017. The fast response cutter and crew are homeported in Ketchikan, Alaska, and conduct Coast Guard operations throughout southeast Alaska. COAST GUARD PHOTO BY PETTY OFFICER 1ST CLASS MATT MILLER

2021-2022 EDITION

Published by Faircount Media Group 450 Carillon Parkway, Suite 105 St. Petersburg, FL 33716 Tel: 813.639.1900 EDITORIAL Editor in Chief: Chuck Oldham Managing Editor: Ana E. Lopez Senior Editor: Rhonda Carpenter Contributing Writers: Craig Collins Edward Lundquist

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The Legend-class national security cutter USCGC Hamilton (WMSL 753) with the Sentinel-class fast response cutters (FRCs) USCGC Charles Moulthrope (WPC 1141) and USCGC Robert Goldman (WPC 1142) departed Puerto Rico to transit the North Atlantic to Europe, April 1, 2021, and then on to their new homeport of Bahrain. Hamilton was escorting the FRCs across the Atlantic before conducting a patrol in the U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet area of responsibility to maintain maritime security alongside NATO Allies and partners.

COAST GUARD FLEET RECAPITALIZATION CONTINUES For the Coast Guard, it’s about time for a stem-to-stern overhaul.

The Coast Guard fleet is getting a long overdue stem-tostern overhaul. Coast Guard cutters, from small to large, conduct a variety of missions, but their basic function can be readily identified by their color. The “white hull” ships conduct patrol operations. The tugs, buoy tenders, and work boats that service aids to navigation (ATON) at sea, along the coast, and in harbors and inland waterways have black hulls. The “red hull” cutters are the polar or Great Lakes icebreakers. From large national security cutters and icebreakers to patrol boats and inland waterways work tenders, the Coast Guard is replacing aging assets with modern ships. It’s about time – some of the legacy fleet served for 50 to 70 years! The older ships are manpower-intensive and expensive to maintain. The newer ships are technologically superior; have better habitability and support mixed-gender crews; have improved seakeeping, endurance, and range; and are


Coast Guard OUTLOOK

optimized for performing the Coast Guard’s increasingly complex missions. Fortunately, there are major shipbuilding programs underway to recapitalize the fleets. “We’re at a pace of shipbuilding we haven’t seen since World War II,” said Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz, speaking at the WEST 2021 conference on June 30, 2021. The new national security cutters (NSCs), offshore patrol cutters (OPCs), and fast response cutters (FRCS) are multi-mission cutters that are assigned search and rescue (SAR); drug interdiction; migrant interdiction; ports, waterways, and coastal security (PWCS); protection of living marine resources; general law enforcement, and defense readiness operations. While these cutters are not intended to conduct the Coast Guard missions of marine safety, aids to navigation, marine environmental




Above: The Coast Guard Cutter Waesche transits through the San Francisco Bay for the first time en route to its homeport of Alameda, California, Feb. 28, 2010. The Waesche was the second Legend-class cutter. Right: The Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf enters the San Francisco Bay en route to its Alameda, California homeport following a three-month multimission patrol, Oct. 3, 2020. Bertholf is one of four Legendclass national security cutters homeported in Alameda.


protection, or ice operations, they routinely support those functions. As such, they can be said to support all 11 of the service’s statutory missions. The new ships have state-of-the-art technology. The NSC gains command, control, computers, communications, cyber, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C5ISR) superiority by using the Sea Commander system, which is fully compliant with the latest Department of Defense (DOD) cyber security requirements and based on the Navy’s Aegis Combat System. Sea Watch is being used by the FRC fleet – and will be used by future OPC and heavy polar ice breakers – as an integrated scalable command and control baseline providing advanced navigation and situational awareness tools.

NATIONAL SECURITY CUTTERS Legend-class 418-foot, multi-mission national security cutters are named for legendary Coast Guard individuals. The lead ship, USCGC Bertholf (WMSL 750), was commissioned in 2008. They have replaced the 378-foot



The notional offshore patrol cutter (OPC) design is 360 feet long, with a beam of 54 feet and a draft of 17 feet. To complement the OPC’s design, Northrop Grumman has been awarded a contract from Eastern Shipbuilding Group for the design of C4ISR and machinery control systems for the U.S. Coast Guard OPCs. Hamilton-class high-endurance cutters, and are built by Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding (HII/ Ingalls) of Pascagoula, Mississippi. The NSCs are referred to as WMSLs, with “MSL” standing for maritime security cutter, large. The acquisition program of record (POR) originally called for procuring eight NSCs as replacements for the service’s 12 Hamilton-class cutters (WHEC), but currently there are 11 built or in production. The 378s were classified with the WHEC hull designation, with “W” standing for a Coast Guard ship and “HEC” denoting a high-endurance cutter. The last WHEC, USCGC Munro (WHEC 724), was decommissioned on April 24, 2021, in Kodiak, Alaska. Commissioned in 1971, it served for five decades. The Coast Guard Acquisition Directorate describes the NSC as “capable of operating in the most demanding open ocean environments, including the hazardous fisheries of the North Pacific and the vast approaches of the Southern Pacific where much of the American narcotics traffic occurs. With robust command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance equipment, stern boat launch and aviation facilities, as well as long-endurance station keeping, the NSCs are afloat operational-level headquarters for complex law enforcement and national security missions involving multiple Coast Guard and partner agency participation.”

The NSC has the ability to launch and recover small boats from astern – to include the long-range interceptor II (LRI II) with its range of 240 nautical miles and speed at 40 knots – as well as aviation support facilities and a flight deck for helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.

OFFSHORE PATROL CUTTERS The 210-foot and 270-foot medium-endurance cutters (WMECs) are being replaced by Heritage-class offshore patrol cutters (OPCs) designated as WMSMs, for maritime security cutter, medium. The 360-foot Heritage-class OPCs are one of the service’s highest acquisition priorities. The OPC program of record is 25 cutters, which will eventually comprise more that 70% of the Coast Guard’s offshore presence. The OPC’s capabilities will be closer to the NSC than the WMECs it will replace, with greater sea-keeping, range, and endurance, as well as a flight deck, hangar, and aviation facilities for MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters and unmanned aircraft. Three OPCs are under construction at Eastern Shipbuilding Group (ESG) in Panama City, Florida, and long lead-time materials for a fourth are on order. Construction of USCGC Argus (WMSM 915) began in January 2019, followed by USCGC Chase (WMSM 916) in April 2020, and USCGC Ingham (WMSM 917) in April 2021. While ESG won the competition in 2016 for the detailed design and construction of up to nine ships, devastation from category 5 Hurricane Michael in October 2018 delivered a major setback for ESG, which requested extraordinary contract relief under the authority of Public


FAST RESPONSE CUTTERS The 154-foot Sentinel-class fast response cutter (FRC) is replacing the 110-foot Island-class patrol boats (WPBs). The 110s – which are at, or approaching, 30 years of service – are being removed from service as they are replaced by FRCs. The FRCs are designated as WPCs, for patrol cutter, and are replacing the 110s, which are designated WPB for patrol boat. The FRC is being built at Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport, Louisiana, and is based on the Damen Stan Patrol 4708 “parent-craft” design. The first, USCGC Bernard C. Webber (WPC 1101), was commissioned in 2012. Sixty-four are planned, with 44 already in service as of June 2021. Compared to the WPBs, the FRCs have improved C4ISR capability and interoperability; stern launch and recovery (up through sea state 4) for a 40-knot Over-the-Horizon 26-foot cutterboat instead of the WPB’s 17-foot RHIB boat; a remote operated, fully stabilized MK 38 Mod 2 25-mm main gun; improved sea-keeping; and enhanced crew habitability. The FRC can deploy independently to


Coast Guard OUTLOOK

Coast Guard Cutter Myrtle Hazard (WPC 1139) underway to Apra Harbor before arriving at its new homeport in Santa Rita, Guam. The new fast response cutter (FRC) was the first of three scheduled to be stationed on Guam, replacing the 30-year-old 110-foot Island-class patrol boats.

conduct maritime security; fishery patrols; search and rescue; and national defense missions. FRCs have been assigned to homeports from the continental United States to Alaska and Hawaii, with the latest cutters going to Guam and Bahrain.

ICEBREAKERS Ice-breaking is another mission that challenges the Coast Guard. The service’s two Polar-class heavy icebreakers are the most powerful in the world, but are old and unreliable. USCGC Polar Star (WAGB 10) is the sole operational heavy icebreaker, while sister ship USCGC Polar Sea (WAGB 11) is currently out of service. Entering service between 1976 and 1978, they have served far beyond their expected 30-year service lives. The Coast Guard has a third ocean-going icebreaker, the 22-yearold medium icebreaker USCGC Healy (WAGB 20), which is used primarily to support polar research. The muchneeded replacement of the WAGBs with the polar security cutter (PSC) is underway. VT Halter Marine, Inc., is under contract to design and build up to three multi-mission PSCs to recapitalize the service’s heavy icebreaking capability.


Law 85-804. Following a determination by the acting secretary of homeland security that extraordinary relief was necessary to maintain the national defense and in the best interest of the government, the Coast Guard moved forward with an adjustment to the OPC detail design and construction contract to cover production of the first four hulls. A new “full and open competition” solicitation to build OPCs 5 through 15 is underway now.


Above: The Coast Guard’s new polar security cutters will replace the service’s heavy icebreakers, but will be true multimission ships. Right: Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star sits on blocks while undergoing depot-level maintenance in a dry dock facility in Vallejo, California, in preparation for the cutter’s 2018 polar-region patrol.

At 460 feet in length and with a full load displacement of about 33,000 long tons, the PSC will be substantially larger than Polar Star (399 feet, 13,000 tons) or Healy (420 feet, 16,000 tons). A service life extension for Polar Star will take place progressively over a five-year period, with her being available for major maintenance between her annual missions to McMurdo Sound during the Antarctic summer. The Coast Guard plans to keep Polar Star operational until the delivery of at least the second PSC. Commissioned in 1999, Healy is larger than the Polar class, but less powerful, and is primarily a research ship that is also a medium icebreaker. During the 2020 summer Arctic season, Healy suffered an electrical fire in one of its main propulsion motors, requiring major repairs. “Our new polar security cutters will ensure year-round access to uphold United States’ sovereignty, represent national interests, and vigorously compete for advantage in the remote polar regions,” said Schultz during his “State of the Coast Guard” address in March.

There are three classes – inland buoy tenders (WLI); river buoy tenders (WLR); and inland construction tenders (WLIC) – in various versions from 65 to 160 feet in length, and along with their respective work barges can reach up to 190 feet. Together these vessels and their associated work barges place and maintain buoys; construct towers; drive and extract pilings; and generally support maintenance of more than 28,000 navigation aids along America’s 12,000-mile Marine Transportation System (MTS) of rivers, canals, and intracoastal waterways.

WATERWAYS COMMERCE CUTTERS The “black hull” fleet of buoy tenders and construction cutters carries out the difficult but unheralded jobs of maintaining the system of ATON at sea, along the coast, and throughout the nation’s intracoastal and inland waterways. The inland and river construction tenders are in dire need of replacement. They represent the oldest cutters in the Coast Guard inventory, with an average age of 56 years, and the oldest being more than 76 years old.



Above: USCGC Smilax (WLIC 315), the oldest active U.S. Coast Guard cutter, travels through Hatteras Inlet. The inland construction tender will turn 77 on Nov. 1. Right: Notional Coast Guard designs for, from top to bottom, river buoy tender, inland construction tender, and inland buoy tender variants of the waterways commerce cutter.


The Coast Guard has embarked on an “accelerated program schedule” to replace those 35 inland tenders with 16 river buoy tenders, 11 inland construction tenders, and three inland buoy tenders as part of the new waterways commerce cutter (WCC) program. The program is currently in source selection, with plans to reach an initial operational capability by 2025 and full operational capability by 2030. There are also seagoing and coastal buoy tenders, as well as icebreaking tugs. The 16 Juniper-class, 225foot seagoing buoy tenders are used to maintain ATON and also assist with ice breaking, law enforcement, and search and rescue. They entered service between 1996 and 2004, with two of them being stationed on the Great Lakes. There are 14 Keeper-class 175-foot coastal buoy tenders that entered service between 1996 and 2000 and are stationed around the U.S. coastline. The nine 140-foot Bay-class icebreaking tugboats (WTGBs) have year-round duties in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions of the country. The ships, built between 1977 and 1987, recently completed their In-Service Vessel Sustainment Program, which provided significant engineering and habitability upgrades and improvements to systems, extending their service life by another 15 years.

MORE THAN 100 NEW SHIPS “The acquisition of 11 national security cutters, 25 offshore patrol cutters, three heavy ice breakers, and 64 fast response cutters provides our nation with over

100 highly capable ships that model the rules-based order,” said Schultz. “While the Department of Defense is rightly focused on hard power lethality, the U.S. Coast Guard provides soft power, multi-mission flexibility, trusted access, and non-kinetic options to advance U.S. interests, preserve U.S. security and prosperity, and address wide-ranging threats and challenges. We bring a range of maritime capabilities to bear across what I like to refer to as the ‘cooperation-competition-lethality continuum.’ While we train and operate across the entire continuum, it is in the ‘cooperate and compete’ areas where we thrive and best demonstrate our value to the nation in support of the Tri-Service Maritime Strategy – ‘Advantage at Sea’ – which the chief of naval operations, the commandant of the Marine Corps, and I jointly released in December. The future of our naval services is joint. We are truly more effective when we work together!”


HAMILTON-CLASS CUTTERS WERE AHEAD OF THEIR TIME, AND LASTED WELL BEYOND IT The April 2021 decommissioning of USCGC Douglas Munro (WHEC 724) at Coast Guard Station Kodiak, Alaska, marked more than the end of nearly 50 years of service for the 378-foot Hamilton-class high-endurance cutter. “Today we say thank you and goodbye to the end of an era – an era of nearly 50 years when high-endurance cutters took our service’s racing stripe around the globe, modeling the maritime rules-based order,” said Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz at the Douglas Munro’s decommissioning ceremony.


Coast Guard OUTLOOK

The retirement signified the end of U.S. Coast Guard service for one of the most successful classes of cutters ever built. The original objective was a fleet of 36 of the 378s, but eventually just 12 of the cutters were built, entering service between 1967 and 1972. All of the Hamiltonclass cutters were constructed at the Avondale Shipyard in Westwego, Louisiana. With the exception of the icebreakers, they were the largest ships in the Coast Guard fleet, and were able to deploy for extended patrols, or operate as part of Navy Carrier Strike Groups.




Opposite page: The Coast Guard Cutter Mellon (WHEC 717) makes way through the Bering Sea while acting as search and rescue standby cutter for the Bering Sea Opilio Crab fishery Feb. 9, 2001. Above: The Coast Guard Cutter Rush (WHEC 723) turns around in the Honolulu Harbor, preparing to moor up after a springtime patrol.

While similarly sized Navy surface combatants were still built with steam propulsion, the Hamilton class had a revolutionary combined diesel or gas turbine (CODOG) powerplant, with two diesel engines and two gas turbines. They could cruise at 20 knots for 12,000 miles on the Fairbanks Morse diesels, and kick it up to 29 knots on the Pratt & Whitney turbines. They also had state-ofthe-art controllable pitch propellers and a retractable 360-degree rotating bow propulsion unit. Another dramatic comparison with Navy ships was that the Hamilton-class cutters had big windows on the mess decks. Like their Navy counterparts, the Hamilton class were originally armed with a 5-inch/38-caliber gun and Mk-56 gunfire control system and anti-submarine torpedo launchers. But they had oceanographic research capabilities that Navy ships didn’t have, like a wet and dry laboratory, winches for bathythermograph sensors, and a weather balloon shelter and aerological office. The Hamiltons received a major mid-life Fleet Renovation and Modernization (FRAM) Program overhaul

during the late 1980s and early 1990s to update the combat systems – including replacing the aging 5-inch gun with a 76mm weapon – as well as hull, mechanical, and electrical system. Eventually, however, the antisubmarine warfare capabilities would be removed. With their range, endurance, and seakeeping abilities, the 378s were used extensively for fisheries patrol. The first of them was decommissioned in 2011. They have now been replaced by the 418-foot national security cutters. That the Coast Guard was able to keep these ships mission-relevant for so many years after their expected retirement dates is a testament to their crews and to the maintenance, repair, and sustainment teams. As old as they were upon decommissioning, they have been refurbished yet again and made available to other nations to serve in their navies and coast guards. All have been or will be transferred to serve in the navies or coast guards of the Philippines, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and potentially Bahrain for years to come.


AC powered vessels, such as the KV Svalbard, can be built today leveraging DC-based power systems for improved mission capability.

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Coast Guard OUTLOOK

chosen over alternating current (AC) arrangements. Suitable for ships operating in the low-to-mid power range, DC-based power systems are based on preengineered modules that can be combined to deliver the required balance of power and resilience, and can be scaled up or down to serve a variety of vessel types and operating profiles.

DEMANDING OPERATING PROFILES Many Navy and Coast Guard vessels share similar operating profiles with these specialized commercial ships, where variable power demands need to be met in seconds, not minutes. Where efficiency allows for greater range or reduced fuel storage, operating demands range across standby transit, highspeed missions, docking operations with maximum maneuverability, and the capability to operate unassisted if necessary. In contrast to traditional AC systems, today’s DC grids provide the flexibility required to meet these wideranging operating profiles. DC power systems lie at the heart of shipping’s energy transformation today and will be essential for the multi-source shipboard energy arrangements that are in development and will be required tomorrow. Ship operators are already hailing their benefits as replacements for conventional AC


Across the shipping industry, electric power systems incorporating batteries and energy storage systems, fuel cells, and other sources of shipboard energy and shipshore energy integration, are set to transform ship design and operation in the years ahead. At the same time, sensors on board ships are transmitting fast-increasing amounts of data between systems, accumulating knowledge on board and on shore to optimize operations and enhance remote support. Electric power and propulsion systems have established a strong foothold across shipping, with successful deployments onboard high performance icebreakers, shuttle tankers, offshore construction vessels, ice-breaking LNG carriers, and wind farm support ships. For Navy and Coast Guard vessels, the power of electricity has great potential to raise operational flexibility, increase efficiency, cut response times and enhance maneuverability, reduce lifecycle maintenance costs, and improve sustainability. Also, due to changing mission load requirements, the flexibility of the electrical system can support varying mission needs. Sectors of commercial shipping have already embarked on the energy transition. In many cases, this involves the smooth integration of energy generated from different sources, a catalyst in the development of ultra-flexible direct current (DC) grids that are increasingly being

By combining a DC-based power system with podded propulsion, Coast Guard vessels benefit from greater fuel efficiencies, freeing up valuable space and weight.


systems on a growing number of ship types. They cite advantages including simplicity, operational flexibility, and lifecycle economics. In addition to their usefulness in the integration of physical technologies, DC-based power systems provide a unique platform for digital solutions. With sensors on board transmitting data between systems instantly, this opens the way for optimization in bridge- and shore-based performance – as well as to remote support through on-shore support centers. Because digital systems are fully available to the ship and at control centers ashore, both efficiency and safety is optimized at all times.

predict them, to detect them, and for system recovery. Confidence in the overall system has also been shown to encourage more sustainable ship operation because additional power sources are not brought online unnecessarily. Meanwhile, the simplicity of the setup enables common faults such as governor and automatic voltage regulator failures to be handled more quickly and effectively. The risk of engine overload is dramatically reduced because each generator has a built-in overload protector that limits output power and ensures that engines do not stall.



The shift to DC power has been a response to the changing energy and operating requirements of many ship types. These include the development of variable speed engines, the integration of batteries and energy storage, scope to integrate other energy sources such as shaft generators and, in the future, fuel cells and power from the wind. In fact, DC systems have many practical, operational and safety advantages over those based on AC. Many of these benefits are directly relevant to the Navy and Coast Guard sectors and can be summarized as follows: • Variable speed generators to match power supply and demand at all times, saving fuel, cutting emissions, and reducing maintenance requirements • Efficient integration of additional power sources, including shaft generators, batteries, energy storage systems, and fuel cells • Increased flexibility through weight and space savings of up to 30% • Superior fault tolerance supported by remote and real-time diagnostics service • Effective distribution capability • Remote and real-time diagnostics service functionality In terms of safety, the relative simplicity of DC grids provides greater scope to protect against faults, to

If the benefits of greater efficiency, real-time vessel management, and remote diagnostics are self-evident, the switch from AC to DC offers still more in the way of flexibility for Navy and Coast Guard ships. It can, for example, facilitate zero-noise and/or zero-emission operation for sensitive deployments. Operating range can also be significantly extended, particularly with the adoption of azimuth or podded electric propulsion. A decentralized DC system can also provide increased redundancy and survivability to the vessel. By segmenting and distributing the power generation and the consumers along a DC bus network, a high degree of survivability can be achieved. But there are also lifetime benefits that are less apparent at the outset, but which should appeal to Navy and Coast Guard commanders. These include improved reliability, longer maintenance intervals with digital predictive systems, and fewer spare parts. Meanwhile, remote support capabilities in real time from expert Navy or Coast Guard personnel can maximize uptime and minimize mission delays. Overall, reduced lifecycle costs, improved sustainability, and significantly smaller carbon footprints should appeal, while the adaptability of DC arrangements provide a strong degree of “future-proofing” as new technologies gain ground in the years ahead.


OFF AND RUNNING Operationalizing the Coast Guard’s strategy to fight illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing

It was a voyage to less-frequented waters. From late December 2020 to early March 2021, the newest Coast Guard national security cutter, the Stone, spent 69 days in the Southern Atlantic, bolstering relationships with several Latin American partners: practicing an interdiction scenario with the Guyana Defense Force; conducting exercises with the Brazilian navy; and participating in professional exchanges with hosts in Uruguay. The Stone’s maiden voyage, covering 18,250 nautical miles, was aimed specifically at countering illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing – a practice which, according to Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz, “has replaced piracy as the leading global maritime security threat.” The Stone’s crew conducted no boardings of fishing vessels for inspection: In the South Atlantic, there is no legal framework for Coast Guard law enforcement teams to board and inspect vessels suspected of illegal fishing on the high seas. The crew also had minimal interaction with its counterparts from the country in the region with arguably the most to lose from IUU fishing: Argentina, home to one of the world’s richest squid fisheries, where, since 2018, hundreds of foreign fishing vessels, most of them from China, have spent nearly a million hours fishing right


Coast Guard OUTLOOK

on the boundary of Argentina’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Many of these vessels have gone “dark” – turning off transponders that send Automatic Identification System data and tell everyone where they are – for extended periods of time, creating the suspicion that they’ve been masking illegal behavior. According to Cmdr. James Binniker, chief of the Fisheries Enforcement Division in the Coast Guard’s Office of Law Enforcement Policy, not conducting law enforcement boardings did not prevent Stone’s maiden voyage from being a great success. Coast Guard presence along South America’s Atlantic coast was an important step in the fight against IUU fishing. The crew did what the Coast Guard does best when attacking a global problem: It strengthened existing relationships and built trust and capacity with its partners. The Stone was the first Coast Guard cutter to visit Uruguay in more than a decade. “Our commandant often says, ‘presence equals influence,’” said Binniker. “The fact that Stone was there generated a great deal of public interest in those South American nations, among their governments, and within their maritime services.” The example of Argentina illustrates how complex the problem is: It doesn’t allow foreign vessels into its




Opposite page: Members of the U.S. Coast Guard Law Enforcement Detachment 104 embarked on the Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18) board a foreign-flagged fishing vessel in support of Oceania Maritime Security Initiative (OMSI). Charleston is part of the OMSI, an initiative leveraging Department of Defense assets transiting the region to increase the Coast Guard’s maritime domain awareness, ultimately supporting its maritime law enforcement operation in Oceania. Left: A small boat crew from the USCGC Stone (WMSL 758) drives alongside the Brazilian navy ship Guaiba off the coast of northern Brazil on Jan. 4, 2021. The Stone and the Guaiba partnered to share and practice law enforcement and rescue tactics as part of Operation Southern Cross. Below left: Crewmembers aboard a small boat from the Ecuadorian naval vessel LAE Isla San Cristobal (LG 30) pull alongside the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750) while conducting a joint patrol to detect and deter potential illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the vicinity of the Galapagos Islands, Aug. 28, 2020. From Aug. 25-29, Bertholf patrolled over 3,000 square nautical miles of Ecuadorian and international waters and conducted joint operations with the LAE Isla San Cristobal, providing persistent presence and surveillance of fishing activity throughout the region.



EEZ, and the Argentine navy has on several occasions chased and even captured foreign-flagged ships, most notably Chinese. But China has gradually become one of the nation’s most important trading partners, and the Argentine navy recently declared that no vessels had been detected illegally fishing in its EEZ. The Stone’s joint operations with neighboring states, however, did not go unnoticed in Argentina: Its media, and its public, raised questions about why leaders hadn’t done more to engage with the U.S. Coast Guard on the issue of IUU fishing. “We hope to do more with Argentina,” Binniker said. “But without even being there, without making a port call, we generated discussion of those issues.” Stone’s patrol by all accounts was a success. According to Capt. Adam Morrison, Stone’s commanding officer for this maiden voyage, “This patrol reinvigorated partnerships with like-minded nations in an effort to curb illegal fishing practices. Furthermore, the collaboration with Global Fishing Watch continued the practice of translating maritime domain awareness information into effective Coast Guard patrol planning to shine a spotlight on the bad actors. Finally, the close coordination activities with South American naval services reaffirms that additional opportunities to learn and train with one another [are] an important factor in the way forward to counter illegal fishing.”

The issue has been clear for decades now: The world’s fish stocks are finite resources, overexploited in a way that threatens both the food supply and geopolitical security. The United Nations estimates that 93 percent of the world’s major ocean fish stocks are fully exploited, overexploited, or significantly depleted; 20 to 30 percent of the annual global catch is collected illegally, generating losses of more than $20 billion every year. But the problem of IUU fishing is far from simple. Much of the unregulated and/or unreported global catch is caught by distant-water fishing (DWF) fleets that fish on an industrial scale in waters far from their home countries. Many of these fleets are heavily subsidized by their home governments, which can encourage unsustainable fishing practices. Illegal trans-shipment – moving catch from a fishing vessel to an accompanying transport vessel in order to hide where it came from – is common. Five fishing fleets dominate DWF: China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and Spain. Vessels from at least four of these nations have been observed going “dark” near the Argentine EEZ since 2018. Among these, China stands out: It accounts for 40 percent of global fishing and its DWF of 17,000 vessels dwarfs all others (the U.S. DWF fleet is between 250 and 300 vessels). China’s economic clout gives it advantages over other DWF nations: It has negotiated fishing permits in the EEZs of other nations, such as several West African coastal states, that have scant resources available for patrol and enforcement. Many DWF vessels are registered in other countries, flying “flags of convenience” that allow them to avoid international fisheries laws and agreements. The overall effect of deliberate, systematic IUU fishing is destabilizing. Preying on vulnerable communities and nations invites the involvement of transnational criminal



Guyana coast guard small boats patrol alongside the USCGC Stone (WMSL 758) off Guyana’s coast on Jan. 9, 2021. The U.S. and Guyana governments enacted a bilateral agreement on Sept. 18, 2020, to cooperatively combat illegal marine activity in Guyana’s waters. organizations that recruit poor fishers to engage in other illegal activity such as smuggling drugs, migrants, or weapons. The U.S. Coast Guard, recognizing the fact that IUU fishing has become an issue whose implications go far beyond protecting natural resources, released a new “Strategic Outlook” document in September 2020. The 40-page document broadly lays out an approach to fighting IUU fishing along three “lines of effort”: targeted, intelligencedriven enforcement; countering predatory and irresponsible state behavior; and multilateral fisheries enforcement cooperation. None of these efforts is new to the Coast Guard or its partners, a growing list of both domestic and international allies. The Maritime Security and Fisheries Enforcement (SAFE) Act of 2019 created a 21-agency working group to coordinate a whole-of-government effort to combat IUU fishing. The group is chaired alternately by the Coast Guard, the Department of State, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which regulates fishing within the U.S. EEZ – where counter-IUU fishing has been a team sport from the beginning. In the Gulf of Mexico, for example, where commercial landings of red snapper have recently been valued at more than $26 million annually, “We work very closely with the state of Texas, CBP [U.S. Customs and Border Protection], and other DHS [Department of Homeland Security] components to monitor the border, including the maritime border,” said Binniker, “and then respond to foreign vessel incursion into our EEZ.” In addition to the many multinational fisheries management organizations and conventions in which the Coast Guard already participates, the service has forged numerous bilateral partnerships – many of them among smaller nations, such as Pacific Island or West African states. “Usually that’s in the form of bringing shipriders on board

Coast Guard cutters, or even U.S. Navy vessels with Coast Guard law enforcement detachments embarked,” Binniker said, “and helping them enforce their sovereignty and their domestic laws within their exclusive economic zones.” The lines of effort mentioned in the Coast Guard’s counter-IUU fishing strategy don’t – and can’t – exist in isolation. To generate more targeted, intelligence-driven enforcement, the Coast Guard must expand on partnerships that supplement the capabilities of its own formidable intelligence branch. Partner nations help identify trends and targets in or near their EEZs, and other organizations – most notably Global Fishing Watch, an international nonprofit that increases maritime domain awareness by creating and sharing map visualizations, satellite data, and tools for analysis that enable research. Global Fishing Watch believes human activity at sea should be public knowledge, used to safeguard ocean resources for the common good. The Coast Guard has been partnering with Global Fishing Watch for years, capitalizing on the organization’s data and analysis to inform the planning of patrols, particularly among its partners in the annual Operation North Pacific Guard (NPG). For more than 20 years, a collection of multilateral and bilateral partners in the region has conducted law enforcement operations targeting IUU fishing. Initially focused on high-seas driftnet fishing for salmon, the partners are now shifting their focus, with the help of GFW data and analysis, to include fleets that are fishing for multiple fish and squid species in the North Pacific. Global Fishing Watch’s data and services became a potential tool for fighting IUU fishing in another region – Latin America and the Caribbean – in June 2021, when it entered an agreement with the United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) to help detect, deter, and identify IUU fishing. The Coast Guard is a critical component of SOUTHCOM, leading and participating in joint law enforcement patrols in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and along both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of South America. In August of last summer, when the national security cutter Bertholf was redeployed from its counterdrug patrol in the Eastern Pacific to a counter-IUU fishing patrol in the Galápagos Islands, the incident helped



illustrate the current limits and gaps in enforcement authorities among the 17 treaty organizations that have been formed to manage high-seas fishing. Partners in these Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), many of which overlap, have each developed their own regulations for protecting valuable species. The 43 members of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), for example, agree to allow the countries in the pact to board and record any potential violations on their nationally flagged vessels. In February 2021, for example, the national security cutter Kimball conducted its first-ever at-sea boarding while patrolling the Philippine Sea. The Bertholf’s assistance was requested in August 2020 by Ecuador, which had noted with alarm, over a period of about four months, the gathering of hundreds of Chinese fishing vessels in the area – 600 miles off the South American coast, in an area the size of Texas. Fishing is strictly limited within Ecuador’s Galápagos Marine Reserve, and ocean fishing beyond its EEZ is regulated by the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization (SPRFMO), of which Ecuador, China, and the United States are all members. Unfortunately, the U.S./Ecuador joint patrol couldn’t board and inspect Chinese vessels in the area, because there is no boarding and inspection scheme yet under the SPRFMO, but the Bertholf’s presence sent the message that the Coast Guard and its partners support a more assertive rulesbased order on the high seas. At the last meeting of SPRFMO members, China blocked a U.S. proposal for implementing a high-seas boarding program – but according to Binniker, it may still be possible: “That convention, which has been in place since 2012, specifically says that if within two years – which we are certainly beyond now – the RFMO has not adopted a specific high-seas boarding inspection program, they will default to the 1995 United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement.” The boarding and inspection regime outlined by the U.N. has provided a model for RFMOs that have such a program.

USCGC Stone (WMSL 758) arrives in Montevideo, Uruguay, on Jan. 25, 2021. Stone was the first U.S. Coast Guard cutter to call in Uruguay in over a decade.

The United States has notified the secretariat, along with China and the other SPRFMO states, that it’s looking to operationalize the U.N.’s boarding and inspection program. Before the end of the 2021 calendar year, Binniker said, “The United States Coast Guard could be doing high-seas boardings and inspections in that RFMO, where they’ve never been done before, and we’re pretty excited about that.” Such authority would have allowed crews to disrupt and possibly expose any illegal activity near the Galápagos EEZ last summer. “We see that as a giant step forward toward bringing some accountability to that fleet,” said Binniker. Even with the ability to board and inspect, however, prospects for accountability may be limited: As their names suggest, the focus of RFMOs is on managing resources, rather than on busting lawbreakers. A boarding within an RFMO, Binniker said, “is more like an audit of the flag state, to see how they monitor and control their vessels to comply with the RFMO conservation and management measures – and it’s less of a targeted action against a specific vessel or operator.” When a boarding party finds violations, it notifies the RFMO secretariat, which notifies the flag state – and then it’s the flag state’s responsibility to investigate and report back to the RFMO what enforcement action was taken, if any, which may include fines, revocation of licenses, or other punishment for illegal fishers. But it doesn’t always work out this way: During last year’s annual operations in the North Pacific – an area regulated by the North Pacific Fisheries Commission (NPFC), whose members include China and the United States – Coast Guard law enforcement teams found serious violations on board three Chinese vessels. “China reported back to the RFMO within a matter of weeks – prior to any of the vessels returning to ports,” said Binniker. “I don’t know how they could have done an investigation, but they



Ships from the U.S. Coast Guard and Japan coast guard conduct exercises near the Ogasawara Islands of Japan, Feb. 21, 2021. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Kimball and Japan coast guard ship Akitsushima, two of the respective services’ newest and most capable vessels, operated alongside helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles to practice interdicting foreign vessels operating illegally inside Japanese waters. reported back in the RFMO that U.S. Coast Guard was mistaken, and that there were no violations. And that’s one of the frustrating parts of our RFMOs. There are some limitations as to how effective our enforcement options can be.” Operationalizing a boarding and inspection program within the SPRFMO and other convention areas would, at the very least, have a cost for China: Brazen defiance of its own agreements is a bad look, and exposing these violations can help generate influence and momentum for change. This is the goal of all international efforts aimed at countering predatory and irresponsible state behaviors: to keep the pressure on bad actors to get with the rules-based program. The U.N.’s Port State Measures Agreement, for example, which went into effect in 2016 and has been signed by 69 countries – excluding, conspicuously, China – requires parties to place tighter controls on foreign-flagged vessels seeking to land or transship fish at their ports. Among other measures, the agreement gives national officials the right to deny any vessel access to domestic ports on the suspicion of wrongdoing, and to refuse services to vessels credibly accused of having participated in IUU fishing. While these higher-level initiatives grow, the Coast Guard continues to expand its ability to fight IUU fishing globally. In early 2021, it stepped up efforts to form new bilateral and multilateral partnerships while building on existing ones. This has had noteworthy results in the Gulf and Caribbean: In February, the service donated two vessels to the Costa Rican coast guard; helped fund the repair of two others; and helped to finance the construction of a training and maintenance center. Since the release of the Coast Guard’s strategy and its public call for new partnerships, Binniker said, the response has been overwhelming from nations seeking to engage and cooperate in counter-IUU fishing operations. “It’s been tremendous, responses have come from everywhere,” he said. “From Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica – even from the U.K. now that they’re not in the E.U. That’s another emerging relationship we’re exploring.” One of the most recent calls for allies in the IUU fishing fight came from within a new partnership itself: On July 22, 2021, a team comprising the Coast Guard, NOAA, Global Fishing Watch, the Navy’s National Maritime

Intelligence-Integration Office, and the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) – a relatively new agency established to help the U.S. military make faster use of emerging commercial technologies – announced a competition, called the xView3 Challenge, seeking skilled software developers to compose algorithms that will harness satellite-based synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data to detect and characterize “dark” vessels that aren’t broadcasting their locations. The winning $150,000 prize, provided by DIU and Global Fishing Watch, will be awarded to the participants – U.S. or international individuals or companies – who produce the best-performing algorithms. The winning algorithm will sort through publicly available data to identify behaviors often associated with IUU fishing. “Slow transit speed, for example, could suggest a vessel setting fishing gear. Rendezvous of vessels could suggest illegal transshipment, particularly if they don’t have an associated AIS [Automatic Identification System] signal, which suggests they might be turning it off so they can make an incursion into an area they’re not supposed to be,” Binniker said. “It’s a huge data set, and the DIU project will hopefully develop an algorithm to weed through all that and yield near-real-time targeting information – and that’s going to be publicly available, so we can help partners wherever there’s a need for better maritime domain awareness.” Such a tool could provide a critical capability in places such as the Galápagos or the Argentine squid fishery, where going dark appears to be part of coordinated, systematic strategies to conceal illegal behavior. By leveraging existing technology to analyze publicly available data and inform the work of a growing worldwide alliance, the winning solution to the xView3 Challenge could help finally drag dark vessels into the light; it could, for example, help reveal what those 800 foreign fishing vessels – most of them Chinese, but also under South Korean, Spanish, or Taiwanese flags – have been doing on the boundary of Argentina’s EEZ. “While China gets the lion’s share of the attention in this space, they certainly are not the only ones conducting IUU fishing,” said Binniker. “Our strategy is not a counterChina strategy. It’s a counter-IUU fishing strategy, wherever it takes place and whoever is engaged in the activity.”


THE YARD USCG Shipyard Curtis Bay’s storied past and vital future

The U.S. Coast Guard Shipyard at Curtis Bay in Baltimore, Maryland, has designed, built, maintained and renovated Coast Guard, Navy, Army, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), state and local government, and foreign military vessels and systems for more than 120 years. It is one of five federal shipyards, the only one under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and is the largest industrial complex within DHS. For all these many things, to the men and women of the Coast Guard – past and present – it is simply “the Yard.” More than just a shipyard, the Yard has a storied past. It was the original home to the Coast Guard Academy, and has been a recruit training center, technical training center,


Coast Guard OUTLOOK

home to the Coast Guard’s Research and Development Center, and a homeport for cutter crews. Today the 113-acre Yard installation is home to more than 2,000 full-time employees, 131 structures of varying size and capacities, and 95 buildings that enclose more than 943,000 square feet of space. Tenant commands and activities include the Surface Forces Logistics Center (SFLC), Sector Maryland – National Capital Region, Asset Project Office Cutter Transition Division, Station Curtis Bay, Aids to Navigation Team Curtis Bay, Project Resident Office (PRO) Baltimore, Command Control, and Communications Engineering Center (C3CEN) Electronic Repair Facility, Electronics Support Detachment Baltimore, Coast Guard Office of Civilian Human Resources – Northeast, Coast



Left: Coast Guard cutters Juniper (left) and Hollyhock are shown in dry dock at the Coast Guard Yard facilities in Baltimore, Maryland, Aug. 1, 2013. The Yard is the service’s sole shipbuilding and major repair facility, and an essential part of the Coast Guard’s core industrial base and fleet support operations.

Guard Office of Civil Rights Detachment, Coast Guard Investigative Services Baltimore, Base National Capitol Region Detachment, and the cutters USCGC James Rankin (WLM 555), USCGC Chock (WYTL 65602), and USCGC Sledge (WLIC 75303). The Yard is home to the largest Inventory Control Point (warehousing operation) in DHS, which serves the entire Coast Guard surface fleet, as well as the Coast Guard’s only U.S. Navy-certified heavy weapons overhaul facility. Because cutters and other government agency vessels come for renovation, including those being transferred under foreign military sale, the Yard provides housing; medical and emergency services; human resources; morale, welfare, and recreation support; and other base activities to approximately 1,000 visiting cutter crew members, other government agency crews, and foreign military crews per year. According to the “Ten Year Strategy of the United States Coast Guard” document, “Nearly every Coast Guard cutter that has put to sea over the past century has been built, renovated and/or maintained by the Yard, and nearly all of the Coast Guard’s cutter crews have benefitted in

some way by the incredible work done by members of the Yard family.” While the number of shipyards in the United States that can repair Coast Guard vessels has declined since the end of World War II, the present demand for maintenance repair and modernization of the service’s surface fleet is growing. With this renewed importance, the Yard has never been more relevant than it is today. But the Yard is also at a pivot point. Once a construction yard, more recently the Yard has concentrated on maintaining and upgrading the legacy fleet, and must update its facilities and capabilities to service the new generation of cutters. The strategy states that the Yard must continue to evolve its workforce recruiting, training, and professional development programs to sustain its competitive advantage: a highly experienced and stable workforce. It also acknowledges the need to update the Yard’s aging infrastructure. The Yard began as a base for the Revenue Cutter Service, one of the predecessors to the Coast Guard, and grew during World War I and Prohibition. During the Prohibition-era, the Yard built, repaired, and overhauled many of the boats and cutters that were used to catch “rum-runners” along the Atlantic Coast. World War II was another busy time for the Yard, working around the clock with three shifts every day of the year. While it continued to build new cutters and boats, after the war the Yard began its transition to vessel renovation, maintenance, and repairs. U.S. shipyards are usually construction or repair shipyards. The Yard, however, is neither. Approximately 85 percent of Coast Guard vessel shipyard maintenance occurs in commercial shipyards around the country. The Yard’s competitive advantage is its highly specialized, stable, and professional workforce, coupled with its unique integration of engineering design and waterfront production to specialize in back-fit ship design, service life extensions, and systems engineering. “Although the Yard is highly capable of repairs, and historically performed new ship construction, over the past several decades the Yard carved out a valuable niche as a vessel renovation specialist,” according to the “Ten Year Strategy.” These include projects such as midlife availabilities, service life extension projects on aging cutters and other vessels, and repeatable repair availabilities, including Recurring Depot Availability Programs (RDAP). New cutters are entering the fleet, with the new classes being generally larger and more complex than the ships they are replacing. With that comes a paradigm shift as



smaller yards that formerly repaired Coast Guard vessels will see that work going to a smaller number of bigger shipyards. In the “U.S. Coast Guard Yard Curtis Bay 2019-2029 Yard Facilities Master Plan,“ the service acknowledges that the newer cutters will require work to be accomplished in larger shipyards that specialize in larger, more complex vessel repair instead of the maintenance traditionally performed in small shipyards that have lower overhead costs and tighter profit margins. “One challenge with this trend is that the Coast Guard will likely begin to compete directly with the Navy for shipyard capacity within the decade. Furthermore, the cost of doing work in shipyards that specialize in military vessel and larger ship repair tend to be higher than those that specialize in repair of small commercial vessels.” This puts the Coast Guard in the situation of being forced to use yards in a less competitive segment of the ship repair industry. “These trends will make it increasingly important to sustain organic Coast Guard shipyard capacity to avoid shipyard ‘bottlenecks,’” the Master Plan reads. This trend should prompt the USCG to make smart infrastructure investments in the Yard to ensure it has capability to drydock and service the new cutter fleet, including offshore patrol cutters and national security cutters. “Until recently, the Yard provided the Coast Guard with the organic capacity to service every vessel in its fleet with the exception of the polar icebreakers. With the acquisition of the national security cutter and the projected acquisition of the offshore patrol cutter, the Coast Guard is losing that organic capacity,” the Master Plan states. For example, the new 360-foot offshore patrol cutters (OPC) that are now under construction are intended to replace the 210-foot and 270-foot mediumendurance cutters (WMECs). Commercial yards that have worked on the WMECs may not have the facilities to dry-dock OPCs.

USCGC Tampa (WMEC 902) sits high and dry at the Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, Baltimore, Maryland, in 2005 during a ninemonth major systems refurbishment as part of the Mission Effectiveness Project (MEP) for 210-foot and 270-foot mediumendurance cutters.

Furthermore, the Yard faces a rapid and widespread failure of critical infrastructure. Using criteria from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the overall infrastructure grade for the Yard is a D+, and it is projected the grade will accelerate its decline without additional resources. Nearly all of the Yard’s waterfront and utility infrastructure was built within a four-year period during World War II, and it urgently needs repair and upgrading in order to meet infrastructure needs to service a modernized surface fleet, and improve the Yard’s environmental posture. The “Ten Year Strategy” stated that the steady decline of the U.S. shipyard industry has now begun to adversely affect the Coast Guard’s ability to maintain its fleet and support operations. “As a result of this phenomenon, coupled with growing demand for Coast Guard presence across the globe, and increasing complexity and breadth of the Coast Guard’s surface fleet, the Yard has never been more relevant to the operational Coast Guard as it is today. To remain relevant, therefore, the Yard must continue to adapt to changes in Coast Guard operational focus, fill gaps left unfilled by commercial industry, and prepare now for the future.” “The members who work at the Yard and Surface Forces Logistics Center [SFLC] Inventory Control Point have sustained the fleet throughout the COVID-19 period and have demonstrated outstanding resiliency and commitment. SFLC is responsible for all engineering, logistics, maintenance, and related support for all cutters and boats in the service,” said Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Karl Schultz during a visit to the Yard. “These men and women keep the Coast Guard running strong.”


ALEX HALEY The Coast Guard’s first chief journalist became a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. BY CRAIG COLLINS


Coast Guard OUTLOOK

Chief Journalist Alex Haley in his dress-blue uniform late in his Coast Guard career.

of the novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family. The book caused a cultural sensation that’s hard to relate to current generations: Within seven months of its release, Roots had sold more than 15 million copies. It spent 46 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, including 22 weeks at No.1. The 1977 television miniseries adaptation of the novel was viewed by an estimated 130 million Americans – more than half the nation’s population at the time. In 2021, a century after Alex Haley’s birth, the USCGC Alex Haley marked its 53rd year of service as a naval or Coast Guard vessel. As influential as Alex Haley was to American culture, it’s never been a Coast Guard tradition to name its cutters after literary figures; Haley is the only writer so honored. Why? Like the cutter that bears his name, Haley’s professional life was divided into two distinct periods. Roots was published a week after his 55th birthday. Literature was actually his second career – and by Haley’s own telling, it was a calling nurtured during


It’s literally one of a kind, the only Coast Guard cutter in the Alex Haley class of medium-endurance cutters: Affectionately called “The Bulldog of the Bering,” ideal for patrolling rough seas, the 282-foot Alex Haley (WMEC 39) began its career in 1968 as the USS Edenton, a salvage and rescue ship with the U.S. Navy’s Atlantic Fleet. In 1997, the ship was transferred to the Coast Guard, and an extensive overhaul transformed it from salvage ship to cutter: removing the towing apparatus, crane, and gantry; installing a helicopter flight deck, retractable hangar, and air-search radar; and replacing its aging engines with four 16-cylinder diesel engines. Equipped for long-range search and rescue, law enforcement, and homeland security missions, the cutter was recommissioned into service on July 10, 1999, in Kodiak, Alaska. To this day, the Alex Haley’s 100-member crew carry out the Coast Guard’s missions and serve as ambassadors to remote Alaskan communities, including those above the Arctic Circle. As maritime traffic increases in Arctic waters, the Alex Haley has become an even more important component of the service’s fleet. Originally designed to remain at sea for lengthy naval salvage operations, the cutter carries more than 100,000 gallons of fuel and weighs more than 3,000 gross tons. In his 2010 book Rescue Warriors: The U.S. Coast Guard, America’s Forgotten Heroes, David Helvarg explained why the Alex Haley was the only medium-endurance cutter capable of conducting Coast Guard missions in the Bering Sea and Arctic Ocean: The 50-foot-wide ship was “beamy,” just a bit lighter – and actually 7 feet wider – than the 378-foot Hamilton-class high-endurance cutters that were then being replaced by the current Legend class (the last of the Hamilton class, the Douglas Munro, partnered with the Alex Haley on Alaskan patrols out of Kodiak until it was decommissioned in April 2021). Helvarg quoted Cmdr. Kevin Jones, then the cutter’s commanding officer, describing the Haley as “lower and wider and slower. We’re a turtle, but we ride through the storms.” These words could describe the literary career of the Alex Haley’s namesake, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author


Above: Alex Haley’s boyhood home in Henning, Tennessee, with his grave located in the grass to the right of the house. Right: Newly enlisted Alexander Murray Palmer Haley in his dress-white uniform.

his first career, which began in 1939, when he enlisted in the Coast Guard at the age of 17.


FROM MESS BOY TO CHIEF JOURNALIST He was born Alexander Murray Palmer Haley, the oldest of three brothers, on Aug. 11, 1921, in Ithaca, New York, where his father, Simon, was a graduate student at the Cornell University School of Agriculture. While he always spoke and wrote with great respect, even awe, of his father’s scholarly achievements and Simon’s efforts to help Black farmers, Alex’s poor academic performance was a constant source of tension between the two. Despite his love of books, Alex was a self-described “C” student in high school, though he excelled in composition and English, and loved writing stories. His decision to go off to college at the age of 15, Haley said, was simply to please his father; he remained – first at Alcorn A&M (now Alcorn State) University in Mississippi, and then at what is now Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina – a terrible student. He withdrew from college at the age of 17 and agreed with his father that maybe a stint in the military would give



The 282-foot medium-endurance cutter Alex Haley (WMEC 39) underway in its home waters of Alaska.

him time to mature and become more disciplined. In May 1939, still weeks shy of his 18th birthday, he enlisted in the Coast Guard – because, he later claimed, the service had a three-year enlistment, compared to the other service branches’ four years. Despite the rationale for beginning it, Haley’s Coast Guard career – he would serve 20 years on what he described as a “great adventure” – was richer and more rewarding than he’d expected. Unquestionably, it set him on a path to the writing life. How this path materialized is garbled among online articles about Haley, which often contradict each other in attempting to summarize his Coast Guard service. In December 2020, Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Kroll – now chief of media relations for the Coast Guard – set the record straight in a well-researched post to the Compass, the service’s official blog. Relying on Haley’s own writings and interviews, his service record, and the biography Alex Haley: And the Books That Changed a Nation, by Robert J. Norrell, Kroll lays out how each level of his service contributed to Haley’s development as a writer. Haley’s career began with the lowliest of job titles – mess boy – on the cutter Mendota, where he waited on tables, shined shoes, cleaned staterooms, mopped and waxed floors, and made the officers’ bunks. Haley reportedly enjoyed this work: He spent much of his time on his own – following orders, but working mostly independently – and he loved the sea and swapping stories with his crewmates.

In early 1940, Haley was transferred to the Pamlico, an old revenue cutter commissioned in 1907. He was promoted to mess attendant first class, given a raise in pay, and taught to cook. Just before the United States entered World War II, he met Nannie Branch, the woman who would become his first wife. Coast Guard personnel were put under naval command for wartime service, and in July 1943 Haley was assigned to a supply ship, the USS Murzim, which ferried ammunition to American and Allied forces throughout the South Pacific. It was during the Murzim’s long voyages that Haley began writing in earnest, composing tons of letters and receiving 30 or 40 at every mail call. These writing sessions were also the first he’d aimed at publication: At night, in the wardroom pantry, he spent his off-duty hours typing love stories he would submit – unsuccessfully, for a long time – to magazines and newspapers. Haley later recounted his Murzim service in an article published in Reader’s Digest in 1961, as an installment in the magazine’s series of features titled, “The Most Unforgettable Character I’ve Met.” Haley profiled his boss, Steward’s Mate 1st Class Percival “Scotty” Scott, a 25-year veteran of the service who asked Haley to type letters to his friends. At first reluctant to take dictation from a man he scorned as an “ungrammatical clown,” Haley grew to enjoy their sessions and his company. One day, Scotty brought Haley a distraught young shipmate who’d just received a “Dear John” letter from his girlfriend back home – and according to Haley, Scotty dictated a response that resulted in the girlfriend writing back and begging forgiveness. The enterprise that bloomed from this success was astonishing: Haley began



The Kunta Kinte Alex Haley Memorial in Annapolis, Maryland.

writing ready-made love letters for his crewmates, many of them including passages lifted by Scotty from Haley’s unpublished stories. Demand for Haley’s services grew so great that carbon copies of these letters – around 300 – were bound into anthologies that crewmates could use to compose their own. Haley also wrote for the Murzim’s onboard mimeographed newsletter, the Seafarer. One of his pieces, “Mail Call,” recounted the sorrow some crewmembers felt when they received no mail. It was a hugely popular piece, and many of his shipmates enclosed it in letters home. Eventually it was reprinted in a crewmate’s hometown newspaper; from there, a wire service picked it up and “Mail Call” was printed widely throughout the country. In 1944, Haley published an article about the Murzim for Coast Guard Magazine. Along with the success of “Mail Call,” this earned him a reassignment to the Coast Guard’s Third District Headquarters, in New York City, in February 1945. “While still officially a steward’s mate for the district admiral,” Kroll explained in the Compass, “his new duties allowed him to work for the district’s public relations office.” A little more than a year later, Haley transferred to the public relations office to work fulltime, and in September 1946 he was redesignated a first class yeoman (PI). In 1948, his rating was reclassified as journalist, and in December 1949 he rose to chief petty

officer, making him the first African-American to achieve the rank, and the service’s first – and for a time, its only – chief journalist. Kroll notes that Haley was a consummate public relations professional, deftly handling events in New York – in May 1950, for example, when 420 tons of military explosives detonated at a river port in South Amboy, New Jersey, killing 31 and injuring more than 350 others – and in San Francisco, where he was transferred in 1954. In the fall of 1956, a commercial Boeing 377 airliner, Pan Am Flight 6, suffered engine failure and ditched in the Pacific Ocean. The Coast Guard Cutter Pontchartrain rescued all passengers and crew and brought them to San Francisco, where Haley arranged and managed media coverage that included reporters from several national outlets. In 1959, after completing 20 years of service, Haley – at the ripe age of 38 – retired from the Coast Guard and returned to New York to pursue a full-time career as a writer. His service as a journalist had made him many connections in the city, and by this time, he’d published several pieces for national publications, including The Atlantic Monthly, Reader’s Digest, and Harper’s. Haley found life as a pensioner to be shockingly difficult; almost overnight, he’d become a starving writer, living in a basement apartment in Greenwich Village, suffering one rejection after another. The first had come from his wife, Nan, who declared him “married to your typewriter,” and moved to Harlem by herself. They divorced in 1964. In a fit of loneliness, Haley reached out to the Black writers he knew lived in the Village, writing each of them




Left: The cover of a first-edition hardback copy of Roots. Below: President George H.W. Bush presents the Coast Guard Academy’s first honorary degree to Alex Haley in 1989.

a letter. The only one he heard from was James Baldwin, who showed up at his door for a visit. Haley later recalled being dumbstruck at meeting one of his idols. “I know we didn’t talk much about writing,” he said in a 1976 interview, “because I would have been too embarrassed to talk writing with him.” Haley’s best work – or at least his most famous – was yet to come: His first book, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, was a collaboration based on more than 50 interviews he’d conducted with Malcolm X between 1963 and 1965. It has been a consistent bestseller since its 1965 publication, and Time magazine has ranked it as one of the 10 most influential nonfiction books of the 20th century. The legacy of Roots has been more complicated. Translated into 37 languages, it’s one of the most widely read books ever written by an American author. As such, it was subject to intense scrutiny that raised questions – and eventually a lawsuit – about Haley’s sourcing and research. It’s fair to say that Haley, in following his family history from Annapolis, Maryland, to the Gambia, got caught up in the fables and folklore of his family storytellers – he’d never

claimed the work to be anything other than “fiction,” but his entire last chapter described his intensive research, and the book was marketed as nonfiction. Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., has said of the novel: “Roots is a work of the imagination rather than strict historical scholarship.” As a work of the imagination, the novel sparked an interest in African American history and genealogy that persists to this day. Within the Coast Guard, Haley’s legacy is undisputed: He is embraced as an icon and an inspiration to all. In its 1989 commencement exercises, the Coast Guard Academy awarded him its first honorary degree. Shortly after his death, the service established a new annual award, the Chief Journalist Alex Haley Award, to recognize individual journalists – authors and photographers – who have done an exceptional job of telling the Coast Guard’s story. The dining facility at the Coast Guard Training Center in Petaluma, California, is named “Haley Hall” in his honor. The cutter bearing his name still patrols the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering and Chukchi seas out of Kodiak. When Haley died in 1992 at the age of 70, he’d already made it clear that for the people of the Coast Guard – the first to recognize and later celebrate his gifts – the feeling was mutual: “You don’t spend 20 years of your life in the service and not have a warm, nostalgic feeling left in you,” he said. “It’s a small service, the Coast Guard, and there is a lot of esprit de corps.”


A boat crew from Coast Guard Station Port Canaveral, Florida, enforces a safety and security zone during a rocket launch off the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, June 24, 2016. The Coast Guard helps provide safety and security services for launches out of the Kennedy Space Center.

THE COAST GUARD SUPPORTS SPACE LAUNCHES AND REENTRIES What goes up may come down. For launches from spaceports like Kennedy Space Center (KSC) at Cape Canaveral in Florida, Vandenberg Space Force Base (formerly Vanderberg Air Force Base) near Lompoc, California, on the West Coast, or NASA’s Wallops Island facility near Chincoteague, Virginia, the Coast Guard provides a presence at sea to keep nearby waters clear of marine traffic. The Coast Guard works with the Space Force’s 45th Space Wing, NASA, and commercial launch providers to promulgate limited-access safety zones. On launch day, the Coast Guard monitors and patrols those zones to keep boaters out of an area where debris or hazardous materials might fall incidental to launch. Cmdr. Jill Lamb, chief of response for Sector Jacksonville, Florida, said the Captain of the Port (COTP)


Coast Guard OUTLOOK

promulgates notices to mariners to set forth those limited access safety areas. Her team uses a local risk assessment tool for each launch. “It’s scalable, so we can look at all the factors and adjust our force laydown. It might vary, depending on if we’re dealing with a satellite launch or an astronaut launch.” The highest risk is usually within the first minute or minute-and-a-half of launch, depending on launch vehicle, configuration, azimuth, or planned specific tests, said Chief Warrant Officer John Chandler, commanding officer of Station Port Canaveral. The Coast Guard has search and rescue responsibilities and law enforcement authorities. “During those launches that are deemed high risk or when we receive a request from the 45th for surveillance assets,




Above: Crewmembers aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Maria Bray watch as a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches from Launch Complex 39A at Kennedy Space Center, May 30, 2020. Coast Guard units and crews supported the launch by enforcing safety and security zones during the rocket’s launch in order to protect members of the public, vessels, harbors, ports, and waterfront facilities. Left: The Coast Guard has supported the U.S. space program since its beginning. Here, U.S. astronaut Frank Borman, Gemini 7 prime crew command pilot, is hoisted out of the water by a U.S. Coast Guard recovery team from a Sikorsky HH-52A Seaguard helicopter during water egress training in the Gulf of Mexico, in October 1965. our vessels would patrol within the launch danger area, ensuring vessel masters are aware of the hazardous areas and CG [Coast Guard] – enforceable Limited Access Areas [LAA],” Chandler said. “Our job with the USSF [U.S. Space Force] day of launch is to provide CG authority in the event a boater is causing the overall risk analysis to increase, which can affect proceeding to launch, hold, or scrub.” But the Coast Guard’s responsibilities go beyond launch day. Increased launch activity means more space-related shipping going in and out of Port Canaveral for commercial launch partners such as SpaceX, United Launch Alliance, Blue Origin, Boeing, and Orbital ATK. Large rocket assemblies and bulk shipments of rocket fuels can arrive by sea at Port Canaveral. Specialized vessels are used to recover booster assemblies at sea, including autonomous barges on which boosters can land and be brought back to port for refurbishing and reuse.

As the local officer in charge of marine inspection, the sector commander is charged with inspecting and approving those highly specialized maritime vessels. “We go aboard to ensure compliance with regulations and safety requirements,” Lamb said. “It’s becoming more challenging to learn these new vessels. They don’t fit squarely into the typical ship categories we’re used to, and each of these commercial operators have their own types of vessels. As the technology advances and their experience grows, the operators are constantly adjusting their procedures and modifying their vessels, which means we need to conduct frequent inspections to deal with the changes.” But with all the new technologies, new vessels, and increased number of space launches, Lamb said the Coast Guard is very experienced with space operations. “We’ve been a mission supporter since 1955.”


THE CUTTERS, BOATS, AND AIRCRAFT OF THE U.S. COAST GUARD PROFESSIONALLY AND PROFICIENTLY OPERATED BY THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE U.S. COAST GUARD, the service’s cutters, boats, and aircraft are standing by 24/7 to respond to safety and security threats in all weather conditions, day or night. As the lead federal agency in the maritime domain for law enforcement, incident response, homeland security, and disaster management, these specialized capabilities enable the Coast Guard to save lives, protect the environment, enforce federal laws on the high seas, and defend the homeland. In recent years, the Coast Guard has realized several achievements with recapitalizing its assets. The polar security cutter project to procure several new icebreakers for the service is moving forward, and the first three offshore patrol cutters are under construction. The service commissioned its ninth national security cutter (NSC), Stone, in March 2021, with two more under construction. Likewise, 44 fast response cutters (FRCs) are now in service, with a total of 64 planned. The Coast Guard is also moving forward with plans for a new waterways commerce cutter, which will replace aging inland construction tenders and buoy tenders. Moving forward, the Coast Guard will thoughtfully pursue and achieve a balanced and executable acquisition program for deteriorating offshore, coastal, and inland assets.


Coast Guard OUTLOOK


CGC Polar Star



ICEBREAKERS The Coast Guard operates two oceangoing icebreakers, the newest of which, the CGC Healy (WAGB 20), commissioned in 1999, is the service’s largest ship. The Coast Guard also operates one icebreaker on the Great Lakes – the CGC Mackinaw (WLBB 30), which replaced an older ship of the same name. Icebreakers are painted with an “icebreaker red” hull to make them noticeable in ice-covered waters. One oceangoing icebreaker, the Polar Sea, was cannibalized for parts used to help return its sister, Polar Star, to operation. The Coast Guard and Navy, under an integrated program office, awarded VT Halter Marine a contract for the detail design and construction of the lead polar security cutter (PSC) in April 2019. The first PSC is expected to begin construction in 2021 and to be delivered in 2024.

Icebreaker, 420-foot Healy Class (WAGB) The Coast Guard’s largest ship, the CGC Healy, was launched in 1997 and commissioned in 1999, joining the two Polar-class icebreakers in their homeport of Seattle, Washington. The Healy is designed to conduct a wide range of research activities,

providing more than 4,200 square feet of scientific laboratory space, numerous electronic sensor systems, oceanographic winches, and accommodations for up to 50 scientists. Healy is capable of breaking 4.5 feet of ice continuously at 3 knots and can operate in temperatures as low as minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The scientific community provided invaluable input on lab layouts and scientific capabilities during design and construction of the ship. As a Coast Guard cutter, the Healy is also a capable platform for supporting other potential missions in the polar regions, and is capable of accommodating two H-65 Dolphin helicopters or one Dolphin and one H-60 Jayhawk helicopter. • Length: 420 feet • Beam: 82 feet • Displacement: 16,000 tons • Power plant: Four diesels, two shafts, 30,000 shaft horsepower (shp) • Speed: 17 knots • Range: 16,000 nautical miles at 12.5 knots; 37,000 miles at 9.25 knots


CGC Healy


CGC Polar Star

Icebreakers, 399-foot Polar Class (WAGB) The Polar-class icebreakers, built in the 1970s, were designed for open-water ice breaking and have reinforced hulls, special ice-breaking bows, and a system that allows rapid shifting of ballast to increase the effectiveness of their ice breaking. These ships are capable of continuous progress through ice 6 feet thick at a speed of up to 3 knots. The CGCs Polar Sea and Polar Star were built to serve in the Arctic and Antarctic, supporting science and research as well as providing resupply to remote stations, but their capabilities also enable them to perform search and rescue (SAR), escort ships, support environmental protection, and enforce laws and treaties in places most ships cannot reach. They are fully equipped for helicopter berthing and deck operations, and can carry two H-60 Jayhawks or H-65 Dolphins. Polar Star was reactivated in December 2012 after three years of refurbishment and modernization. A Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) for Polar Star is underway, with a five-year phased production between 2021 and 2025. Polar Sea remains laid up and is being used as a parts donor while its disposition is determined. • Length: 399 feet • Beam: 83 feet, 6 inches • Displacement (28-foot draft): 13,194 tons full load • Power plant: Six Alco diesels, 3,000 British horsepower (bhp) each, three gas turbines, 25,000 shp each, electric drive, three shafts, 66,000 shp • Speed: 18 knots


Coast Guard OUTLOOK

• Range: 16,000 nautical miles at 18 knots; 28,275 at 13 knots Vessels in this class: • Polar Star (WAGB 10) Seattle, Washington • Polar Sea (WAGB 11) deactivated, Seattle, Washington

Icebreaker, 240-foot Great Lakes Class (WLBB) The CGC Mackinaw (WLBB 30), like its predecessor of the same name, was designed specifically for the Great Lakes, where its mission has been to keep the shipping lanes open through as much of the winter as possible. Like the former Mackinaw (WAGB 83), the new ship is homeported in Cheboygan, Michigan, and remains the only U.S. heavy icebreaking resource assigned to the Great Lakes. The ship performs ice breaking as well as ATON (aids to navigation), SAR, law enforcement, and other missions. It has a crew of nine officers and 46 enlisted members. The Mackinaw features state-of-the-art navigation, communication, and security systems and is able to carry a smaller crew than its namesake. The vessel also has a 20-ton crane for servicing ATON and an oil spill recovery system on board. It uses two podded propulsors and a bow thruster to provide excellent maneuverability, and is designed to break through 32 inches of ice at 3 knots. • Length: 240 feet • Beam: 58 feet, 6 inches • Draft: 16 feet • Displacement: 3,500 tons full load • Power plant: Three 4,200-bhp ABT diesel generators; two ABT 3,350-kilowatt (kW) Azipod propulsion units


Vessel in this class: • Healy (WAGB 20) Seattle, Washington

and long-range interceptors (CB-LRI-II). Polar-class icebreakers also carry an Arctic survey boat (ASB), a polar variant of the CB-OTH-IV, and landing craft. Most cutters more than 200 feet in length are capable of accommodating helicopters.


National Security Cutters, 418-foot Legend Class (WMSL)

CGC Mackinaw • Speed: 15 knots • Range: 4,000 nautical miles Vessel in this class: Mackinaw (WLBB 30) Cheboygan, Michigan

CUTTERS The term “cutter” identifies a Coast Guard vessel 65 feet in length or greater, with accommodations for a crew to live aboard. Major cutters, like the national security cutter, are capable of carrying multiple cutterboat types, including the over-the-horizon (CB-OTH-IV) rigid-hull inflatables,

The first major cutter to join the Coast Guard as part of the fleet recapitalization plan, the national security cutter (NSC) is the largest and most technologically advanced of the service’s new cutters. At 418 feet in length, capable of speeds up to 28 knots, with a crew complement of 122 and a displacement of 4,500 long tons, the Legend-class cutters are capable of better seakeeping and higher sustained speeds as well as greater endurance than legacy cutters. The ships, being acquired by the Coast Guard Acquisition Directorate, feature modern command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities and provide interoperability with U.S. Navy systems and a common operational picture to enhance maritime domain awareness. In addition to a helicopter deck, the class has a stern ramp for launching and recovering two classes of rigid-hull inflatable (RHIB) cutterboats that deploy with the NSC: the 35-foot CB-LRI-II and the 26-foot CB-OTH-IV. The NSC can carry a total of three boats: one CB-LRI-II and two CB-OTH-IVs. The first cutter, Bertholf, was commissioned Aug. 4, 2008, and completed its first extended operations in 2009. The ninth NSC, Stone, was commissioned in March 2021. The Coast Guard originally planned construction of eight NSCs;


CGC Midgett


Offshore Patrol Cutter

however, nine have now been built, and a 10th and 11th are under construction. The NSC is armed with a 57 mm/Mk. 110 gun, which is also employed by the Navy’s littoral combat ships, and four M2 .50-caliber machine guns. The NSC can accommodate two H-65s, or one H-65 or H-60, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles.

• Kimball (WMSL 756) Honolulu, Hawaii • Midgett (WMSL 757) Honolulu, Hawaii • Stone (WMSL 758) Charleston, South Carolina • Calhoun (WMSL 759) Under construction • Friedman (WMSL 760) Under construction

• Length: 418 feet • Beam: 54 feet • Displacement: 4,500 long tons full load • Power plant: Combined diesel and gas (CODAG); one 30,565 shp gas turbine engine and two 9,655 hp diesel engines • Speed: Up to 28 knots • Range: 12,000 nautical miles • Armament: Mk. 110 57 mm gun; Phalanx 20 mm close-in weapon system (CIWS); Mk. 53 decoy launching system (NULKA); and four M2 .50-caliber machine guns Vessels in this class: • Bertholf (WMSL 750) Alameda, California • Waesche (WMSL 751) Alameda, California • Stratton (WMSL 752) Alameda, California • Hamilton (WMSL 753) Charleston, South Carolina • James (WMSL 754) Charleston, South Carolina • Munro (WMSL 755) Alameda, California


Coast Guard OUTLOOK

Offshore patrol cutters (OPCs) will provide the mid-range capability in the Coast Guard’s layered defense concept, filling the role between the NSC and fast response cutter (FRC) and replacing the service’s two classes of aging mediumendurance cutters. The OPC is to feature increased range and endurance, more powerful weapons, a larger flight deck, and improved C4ISR equipment, and will accommodate aircraft and boat operations in higher sea states. In September 2016, the Coast Guard awarded the Phase II contract to Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Inc., for production of the lead OPC and options for up to nine OPCs. Construction of the first OPC, Argus, began in January 2019. Three OPCs are now under construction, with long-lead-time materials ordered for a fourth. The Coast Guard is naming the ships after significant cutters in its history. Vessels in this class: • Argus (WMSM 915) • Chase (WMSM 916) • Ingham (WMSM 917)


Offshore Patrol Cutters

CGC Eagle

• Rush (WMSM 918) • Pickering (WMSM 919) • Icarus (WMSM 920) • Active (WMSM 921) • Diligence (WMSM 922) • Alert (WMSM 923) • Vigilant (WMSM 924) • Reliance (WMSM 925)

• Displacement: 1,824 tons full load • Power plant: Diesel, one shaft, 1,000 bhp, 21,350-square-foot sail area • Speed: 10 knots under power; 16 knots under sail • Range: 5,450 nautical miles under power Vessel in this class: • Eagle (WIX 327) New London, Connecticut


295-foot Cutter Eagle (WIX) The tall ship Eagle is a three-masted sailing barque with 21,350 square feet of sail, homeported at the Coast Guard Academy, New London, Connecticut. It is the only active (operational) commissioned sailing vessel in the U.S. maritime services. Seventh in a line of cutters to bear its name, the CGC Eagle was built in 1936 by Blohm and Voss in Hamburg, Germany, as a training vessel for German naval cadets. It was taken as a war prize in 1946, commissioned into Coast Guard service as the Eagle, and sailed from Bremerhaven, Germany, to New London, Connecticut. The Eagle serves as a seagoing classroom for approximately 175 cadets and instructors from the academy. On the Eagle, cadets apply the navigation, engineering, and other skills they develop in classes at the academy. Eagle’s hull is built of steel, four-tenths of an inch thick. It has two full-length steel decks with a platform deck below and a raised forecastle and quarterdeck. The weather decks are 3-inch-thick teak over steel. When homeported, the Eagle is moored at the Fort Trumbull State Park on the Thames River. • Length: 295 feet • Beam: 39 feet

Medium Endurance Cutter, 282-foot Alex Haley Class (WMEC) The cutter Alex Haley (WMEC 39) is a one-of-a-kind Coast Guard ship, named for the service’s first chief journalist, who later wrote Roots and won a Pulitzer Prize. Commissioned in 1971 as the Navy salvage and rescue ship USS Edenton (ATS 1), the vessel was transferred to the Coast Guard in November 1997 for conversion into a medium endurance cutter. The cutter’s primary missions are law enforcement, domestic fisheries enforcement, and SAR in Alaskan waters. With a crew of 99, the ship can accommodate a single H-65 Dolphin or H-60 Jayhawk. • Length: 282 feet • Beam: 50 feet • Displacement: 3,000 tons full load • Power plant: Four Caterpillar diesels, two shafts; bow thruster • Speed: 16 knots • Range: 10,000 nautical miles at 13 knots • Armament: Two Mk. 38 25 mm cannons; two .50-caliber machine guns


CGC Alex Haley

Medium Endurance Cutters, 270-foot Famous Class (WMEC) The first of 13 Famous-class cutters, the Bear (WMEC 901), entered service in 1983, and these ships have become a familiar sight on the world’s oceans ever since. Together with the 14 Reliance-class vessels, Famous-class cutters are among the service’s primary tools for law enforcement, counterdrug, and SAR missions. These ships are the most modern and advanced medium endurance cutters, with a modern weapons and sensor suite. They have long been equipped with a Command, Display, and Control (COMDAC) computerized ship control system that was significantly updated in the 1990s and makes these ships effective with smaller crews. Famous-class ships operate with a crew of 100. Armament includes a Mk. 75 76 mm fully automatic gun capable of firing up to 80 rounds per minute. The Shipboard Command and Control System (SCCS) uses radar, LORAN (long range navigation), and GPS (Global Positioning System) technologies. SCCS is an integrated and sophisticated system that brings the ship’s electronic resources together to facilitate operations. Famous-class cutters are able to land, launch, and service the H-65 Dolphin, and some can also operate the Jayhawk. A Dolphin and a five-member aviation detachment usually deploy with the ship. The cutter’s active stabilization system extends the operating parameters of the cutter aircraft team by providing a stable platform for flight evolutions during rough


Coast Guard OUTLOOK

sea conditions. This allows the cutters to serve the vital role of search and rescue in almost any storm or location. For law enforcement boardings, these cutters carry a 23-foot over-thehorizon cutterboat (CB-OTH) and a 19-foot rigid-hull inflatable boat. Under the Mission Effectiveness Project (MEP), Famousclass cutters received capability enhancements, major maintenance, and replacement of obsolete, unsupportable, or maintenance-intensive equipment, which included installing improved C4ISR suites. The Reliance-class ships also underwent MEP. All 270-foot cutters finished their MEP in September 2014, ensuring their operational reliability until their replacement by the offshore patrol cutter. • Length: 270 feet • Beam: 38 feet • Displacement: 1,820 tons full load • Power plant: Two 3,650-hp V-18 Alco diesel engines, two shafts • Speed: 20 knots • Range: Just under 3,800 nautical miles at 19.5 knots; 9,900 nautical miles at 12 knots • Armament: One Mk. 75 76 mm gun, two .50-caliber machine guns, two SRBOC chaff launchers Vessels in this class: • Bear (WMEC 901) Portsmouth, Virginia • Tampa (WMEC 902) Portsmouth, Virginia • Harriet Lane (WMEC 903) Portsmouth, Virginia • Northland (WMEC 904) Portsmouth, Virginia • Spencer (WMEC 905) Boston, Massachusetts


Vessel in this class: • Alex Haley (WMEC 39) Kodiak, Alaska

CGC Spar

CGC Thetis



• Seneca (WMEC 906) Portsmouth, Virginia • Escanaba (WMEC 907) Boston, Massachusetts • Tahoma (WMEC 908) Kittery, Maine • Campbell (WMEC 909) Kittery, Maine • Thetis (WMEC 910) Key West, Florida • Forward (WMEC 911) Portsmouth, Virginia • Legare (WMEC 912) Portsmouth, Virginia • Mohawk (WMEC 913) Key West, Florida

Seagoing Buoy Tenders, 225-foot Juniper Class (WLB) Juniper-class buoy tenders are seagoing Coast Guard cutters responsible for maintaining short- and long-range ATON such as fixed structures and buoys. They have replaced the aging Balsam class of World War II-era buoy tenders. Buoy tenders provide light ice breaking in ice-laden domestic waters. Buoy tenders are multi-mission vessels, and conduct maritime law enforcement, homeland security, and defense operations, as well as provide SAR should the need arise. The 225-foot Juniper class’ twin diesel engine propulsion system supplies the speed and maneuverability necessary to tend coastal and offshore buoys in exposed locations. Perhaps the most important advance is the use of a new Dynamic Positioning System (DPS). DPS uses a differential GPS to fix positions. Using this technology, the crews are able to maintain the vessel’s position within a 10-meter circle in winds of up to 30 knots and waves of up to 8 feet. The Juniper-class cutters are undergoing midlife renovation under the In-Service Vessel Sustainment (ISVS) program. • Length: 225 feet • Beam: 46 feet • Displacement: 2,000 tons • Buoy deck area: 2,875 square feet • Power plant: Two Caterpillar 3608 diesels, one shaft, 6,200 bhp • Speed: 15 knots • Range: 6,000 nautical miles at 12 knots • Armament: Two .50-caliber machine guns

Vessels in this class: • Juniper (WLB 201) Honolulu, Hawaii • Willow (WLB 202) Charleston, South Carolina • Kukui (WLB 203) Sitka, Alaska • Elm (WLB 204) Astoria, Oregon • Walnut (WLB 205) Pensacola, Florida • Spar (WLB 206) Kodiak, Alaska • Maple (WLB 207) Atlantic Beach, North Carolina • Aspen (WLB 208) San Francisco, California • Sycamore (WLB 209) Newport, Rhode Island • Cypress (WLB 210) Pensacola, Florida • Oak (WLB 211) Newport, Rhode Island • Hickory (WLB 212) Homer, Alaska • Fir (WLB 213) Astoria, Oregon • Hollyhock (WLB 214) Port Huron, Michigan • Sequoia (WLB 215) Santa Rita, Guam • Alder (WLB 216) Duluth, Minnesota

Medium Endurance Cutters, 210-foot Reliance Class (WMEC) The 14 Reliance-class cutters work alongside the Famous-class ships, carrying out primarily law enforcement and SAR missions. The 210-foot ships were the first true post-World War II Coast Guard cutters. Outwardly, these ships reflect evolving Coast Guard operations during the latter part of the 20th century – sleek lines, flight decks, and a high pilothouse giving the bridge crew excellent all-around visibility. They do not have helicopter hangars but each can operate a single H-65 Dolphin on deck. Crew complement is 77. Although lightly armed, these cutters were designed to carry additional armament including a 3-inch gun, a total of six .50-caliber machine guns, an SQS-17 sonar (later suggestions included using an SQS-36), an anti-submarine projector (Hedgehog), and/or two torpedo launchers. None of this additional armament was ever actually installed. From 1986 to 1996, ships of this class underwent a midlife maintenance availability to upgrade machinery and equipment. There were 16 Reliance-class cutters, but budget cuts prompted the decommissioning of the Courageous (WMEC 622) and the Durable (WMEC 628) in 2001. To prolong the longevity of the remaining cutters, the Coast Guard began a MEP in 2005 to increase operational availability by installing capability enhancements, performing major


CGC Dauntless

• Length: 210 feet • Beam: 34 feet • Displacement: 1,000 tons • Power plant: Two Alco 16V-251 diesel engines, two shafts, 5,000 bhp • Speed: 18 knots • Range: 6,100 nautical miles at 12 knots • Armament: One Mk. 38 25 mm cannon and two .50-caliber machine guns Vessels in this class: • Reliance (WMEC 615) Pensacola, Florida • Diligence (WMEC 616) Pensacola, Florida • Vigilant (WMEC 617) Port Canaveral, Florida • Active (WMEC 618) Port Angeles, Washington • Confidence (WMEC 619) Port Canaveral, Florida • Resolute (WMEC 620) St. Petersburg, Florida • Valiant (WMEC 621) Naval Station Mayport, Florida • Steadfast (WMEC 623) Astoria, Oregon • Dauntless (WMEC 624) Pensacola, Florida • Venturous (WMEC 625) St. Petersburg, Florida • Dependable (WMEC 626) Little Creek, Virginia • Vigorous (WMEC 627) Little Creek, Virginia • Decisive (WMEC 629) Pensacola, Florida • Alert (WMEC 630) Astoria, Oregon

Coastal Buoy Tenders, 175-foot Keeper Class (WLM) The 175-foot Keeper-class coastal buoy tenders are a new era in buoy tending, equipped with Z-drive propulsion units


Coast Guard OUTLOOK

instead of the standard propeller and rudder configuration. The propulsion units are designed to independently rotate 360 degrees. Combined with a thruster in the bow, they give the Keeper-class cutters unmatched maneuverability. With state-of-the-art electronics and navigation systems including DPS, which uses differential GPS and electronic chart displays, it is possible to maneuver and position navigation aids with a smaller crew. Carrying a crew of 24, ships in this class are named for well-known lighthouse keepers. Although not classified as icebreakers, these ships can move through 9 inches of ice at 3 knots. • Length: 175 feet • Beam: 36 feet • Displacement: 845 tons • Power plant: Two Caterpillar 3508TA diesels, two Ulstein Z-drive, 2,040 bhp • Speed: 12 knots • Range: 2,000 nautical miles at 10 knots Vessels in this class: • Ida Lewis (WLM 551) Newport, Rhode Island • Katherine Walker (WLM 552) Bayonne, New Jersey • Abbie Burgess (WLM 553) Rockland, Maine • Marcus Hanna (WLM 554) South Portland, Maine • James Rankin (WLM 555) Baltimore, Maryland • Joshua Appleby (WLM 556) St. Petersburg, Florida • Frank Drew (WLM 557) Portsmouth, Virginia • Anthony Petit (WLM 558) Ketchikan, Alaska • Barbara Mabrity (WLM 559) Mobile, Alabama • William Tate (WLM 560) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania • Harry Claiborne (WLM 561) Galveston, Texas • Maria Bray (WLM 562) Atlantic Beach, Florida • Henry Blake (WLM 563) Everett, Washington • George Cobb (WLM 564) San Pedro, California


maintenance, and replacing obsolete, unsupportable, or maintenance-intensive equipment. The successful conclusion of the MEP in September 2014 ensured the operational reliability of these cutters until replacement by the offshore patrol cutter.


CGC George Cobb CGC Pamlico

Waterways Commerce Cutter The Coast Guard established the waterways commerce cutter (WCC) program to replace the capability provided by the inland tender fleet. The program has determined that three WCC variants will best meet mission needs. All three variants will be self-propelled cutters rather than tug and barge configurations. The river buoy tender and inland construction tender variants will be acquired on one contract; these variants are expected to be common except for hull length, working deck layouts, and deck equipment, including the crane. The program released a draft request for proposal (RFP) for these variants in July 2020 and anticipates releasing the final RFP in 2021, with contract award in 2022. The Coast Guard plans to acquire 16 river buoy tenders, 11 inland construction tenders, and three inland buoy tenders. The new tenders will have greater endurance, speed, and deck load capacity than their predecessors. The ships will also feature improved habitability and will accommodate mixed-gender crews.


INLAND CONSTRUCTION TENDERS (WLIC) The Coast Guard’s inland construction tenders are broken into three classes, all designed for the construction, repair, and maintenance of fixed ATON and all operating on inland waters. The 160-foot WLICs are single units without barges. The 75-foot WLICs push either a 68- or 84-foot construction barge. The one 100-foot WLIC pushes a 70-foot construction barge. The barges are equipped with cranes and other ATON equipment to drive piles and work the smaller-sized buoys. The earliest of these tenders date to the 1940s and have crews of 13 to 15.

160-foot WLIC Class: • Length: 160 feet • Beam: 30 feet • Displacement: 411 tons • Power plant: Two Caterpillar D379 diesels, two shafts, 1,000 bhp • Speed: 11 knots • Range: 1,205 nautical miles at 6.5 knots Vessels in the 160-foot WLIC class: • Pamlico (WLIC 800) New Orleans, Louisiana • Hudson (WLIC 801) Miami Beach, Florida • Kennebec (WLIC 802) Portsmouth, Virginia • Saginaw (WLIC 803) Mobile, Alabama

100-foot WLIC Class: • Length: 100 feet • Beam: 24 feet • Displacement: 178 tons • Power plant: Two Caterpillar 3412, two shafts, 1,250 bhp


• Speed: 10 knots • Range: 1,200 nautical miles at 7 knots Vessel in the 100-foot WLIC class: • Smilax (WLIC 315, oldest commissioned cutter) Atlantic Beach, North Carolina

75-foot WLIC Class: • Length: 75 feet • Beam: 22 feet • Displacement: 145 tons • Power plant: Two Caterpillar D353, two shafts, 750 hp; or two Caterpillar 3412 or V1312TI, two shafts, 1,250-1,350 hp • Speed: 10 knots • Range: 1,050-1,300 nautical miles at 9 knots; 2,400-2,500 nautical miles at 5 knots

Ice-Breaking Tugs, 140-foot Bay Class (WTGB) The 140-foot Bay-class cutters are single-screw tugs used primarily for domestic ice-breaking duties. They are named after American bays and are stationed mainly in the northeastern United States and the Great Lakes. They use a low-pressureair hull lubrication or bubbler system that forces air and water between the hull and ice. This system improves ice-breaking capabilities by reducing resistance against the hull, thereby reducing horsepower requirements. A 120-foot ATON barge augments the cutters Bristol Bay and Mobile Bay. The Bay-class cutters underwent a midlife renovation project under the ISVS to renew the most elderly or vulnerable components. Biscayne Bay was the ninth and final vessel to complete the program, in September 2020. A second round of upgrades, to the cutters’ HVAC systems, is now underway. • Length: 140 feet • Beam: 37.5 feet • Displacement: 662 tons full load • Power plant: Two Fairbanks-Morse diesel engines, electric drive, one shaft, 2,500 shp • Speed: 14.7 knots • Range: 1,500 nautical miles at 14.7 knots; 4,000 nautical miles at 12 knots Vessels in this class: • Katmai Bay (WTGB 101) Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan • Bristol Bay (WTGB 102) Detroit, Michigan


Coast Guard OUTLOOK


Vessels in the 75-foot WLIC class: • Anvil (WLIC 75301) Charleston, South Carolina • Hammer (WLIC 75302) Mayport, Florida • Sledge (WLIC 75303) Baltimore, Maryland • Mallet (WLIC 75304) Corpus Christi, Texas • Vise (WLIC 75305) St. Petersburg, Florida • Clamp (WLIC 75306) Galveston, Texas • Hatchet (WLIC 75309) Galveston, Texas • Axe (WLIC 75310) Morgan City, Louisiana

CGC Biscayne Bay

• Mobile Bay (WTGB 103) Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin • Biscayne Bay (WTGB 104) St. Ignace, Michigan • Neah Bay (WTGB 105) Cleveland, Ohio • Morro Bay (WTGB 106) Cleveland, Ohio • Penobscot Bay (WTGB 107) Bayonne, New Jersey • Thunder Bay (WTGB 108) Rockland, Maine • Sturgeon Bay (WTGB 109) Bayonne, New Jersey

River Buoy Tenders (WLR) The Coast Guard operates 18 tenders of 75-foot and 65-foot lengths on rivers in the western United States, deploying ATON buoys and day boards to mark river channels and to ease the efficient flow of commerce. WLRs push barges equipped with cranes that work ATON. Some WLRs are equipped with “jetting” devices that are used to set and anchor buoys in rivers with sandy or muddy bottoms. The barges are an integral part of the ATON mission. Barge lengths vary: 90 feet, 99 feet, and 130 feet. Like the inland construction tenders, the river buoy tenders are to be replaced by variants of the waterways commerce cutter.

75-foot Kankakee-class River Buoy Tenders: • Length: 75 feet • Beam: 22 feet


CGC Greenbrier

• Displacement: 175 tons • Power plant: Two Caterpillar 3412 diesels, two shafts, 1,024 bhp • Speed: 10 knots Vessels in this class: • Kankakee (WLR 75500) Memphis, Tennessee • Greenbrier (WLR 75501) Natchez, Mississippi

75-foot Gasconade-class River Buoy Tenders:

65-foot-class River Buoy Tenders: • Length: 65 feet • Beam: 21 feet • Displacement: 145 tons • Power plant: Two Caterpillar D353 diesels, two shafts, 660-725 hp • Speed: 10 knots Vessels in this class: • Ouachita (WLR 65501) Chattanooga, Tennessee • Cimarron (WLR 65502) Buchanan, Tennessee


• Length: 75 feet • Beam: 22 feet • Displacement: 140 tons • Power plant: Two Caterpillar D353 diesels, two shafts, 660-750 hp; or two Caterpillar 3412, two shafts, 1,250 hp • Speed: 10 knots Vessels in this class: • Wedge (WLR 75307) Demopolis, Alabama • Gasconade (WLR 75401) Omaha, Nebraska • Muskingum (WLR 75402) Sallislaw, Oklahoma • Wyaconda (WLR 75403) Dubuque, Iowa • Chippewa (WLR 75404) Buchanan, Tennessee • Cheyenne (WLR 75405) St. Louis, Missouri • Kickapoo (WLR 75406) Vicksburg, Mississippi • Kanawha (WLR 75407) Pine Bluff, Arkansas • Patoka (WLR 75408) Greenville, Mississippi • Chena (WLR 75409) Hickman, Kentucky

CGC Sangamon


• Obion (WLR 65503) Owensboro, Kentucky • Scioto (WLR 65504) Keokuk, Iowa • Osage (WLR 65505) Sewickley, Pennsylvania • Sangamon (WLR 65506) East Peoria, Illinois

INLAND BUOY TENDERS, LARGE-SMALL (WLI) 100-foot Inland Buoy Tenders: • Length: 100 feet • Beam: 24 feet • Displacement: 174 tons full load • Power plant: Two diesels, two shafts, 600-660 bhp • Speed: 10.5 knots Vessels in this class: • Bluebell (WLI 313) Portland, Oregon • Buckthorn (WLI 642) Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

65-foot Inland Buoy Tenders: • Length: 65 feet • Beam: 17 feet • Displacement: 71 tons • Power plant: Two GM diesels, two shafts, 400 hp (WLI 65401) • Speed: 11.3 knots (WLI 65401) Vessels in this class: • Bayberry (WLI 65400) Long Beach, North Carolina • Elderberry (WLI 65401) Petersburg, Alaska

PATROL BOATS The diverse range of Coast Guard duties is reflected dramatically by the number and variety of its patrol boats, which are assigned to most of the service’s missions. Island-class cutters are high-speed vessels that offer an operating radius of almost 1,000 nautical miles, making them highly effective for illegal migrant interdiction operations and a range of other duties. However, the aging Island-class cutters are being replaced by the fast response cutter (FRC). Eighty-sevenfoot Marine Protector-class vessels have an IEBS (integrated electronic bridge system) and a stern-launched rigid-hull inflatable boat useful for various duties, including carrying boarding crews.

Fast Response Cutters, 154-foot Sentinel Class (WPC) The Sentinel class is a key component of the Coast Guard’s recapitalized fleet and is critically needed to replace the aging 110-foot Island-class patrol boat fleet. The first cutter in


Coast Guard OUTLOOK

this class, Bernard C. Webber, was delivered in February 2012. To honor past Coast Guard members, each FRC in this class will be named for one of the service’s many enlisted heroes. These cutters will be able to deploy independently to conduct the service’s missions, such as ports, waterways, and coastal security; fishery patrols; drug and migrant interdiction; law enforcement; SAR; and national defense operations. The cutters’ C4ISR suites will be completely interoperable with U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, Department of Defense, and Department of Homeland Security assets. The 154-foot cutters have a speed of more than 28 knots and are based on an existing patrol boat design from Damen Shipyards. This vessel class is planned for a total of 64 patrol boats. • Length: 154 feet • Beam: 25 feet • Displacement: 353 long tons • Power plant: Two 4,300-kW MTU diesel engines • Speed: 28-plus knots • Endurance: five days


CGC Elderberry

CGC Isaac Mayo


• Crew: 24 (four officers, 20 enlisted) • Armament: One stabilized 25 mm machine gun mount and four non-stabilized, crew-served .50-caliber machine guns Vessels in this class: • Bernard C. Webber (WPC 1101), Miami Beach, Florida • Richard Etheridge (WPC 1102), Miami Beach, Florida • William Flores (WPC 1103) Miami Beach, Florida • Robert Yered (WPC 1104) Miami Beach, Florida • Margaret Norvell (WPC 1105), Miami Beach, Florida • Paul Clark (WPC 1106), Miami Beach, Florida • Charles David Jr. (WPC 1107) Key West, Florida • Charles Sexton (WPC 1108) Key West, Florida • Kathleen Moore (WPC 1109) Key West, Florida • Raymond Evans (WPC 1110) Key West, Florida • William Trump (WPC 1111) Key West, Florida • Isaac Mayo (WPC 1112) Key West, Florida • Richard Dixon (WPC 1113) San Juan, Puerto Rico • Heriberto Hernandez (WPC 1114), San Juan, Puerto Rico • Joseph Napier (WPC 1115) San Juan, Puerto Rico • Winslow Griesser (WPC 1116) San Juan, Puerto Rico • Donald Horsley (WPC 1117) San Juan, Puerto Rico • Joseph Tezanos (WPC 1118) San Juan, Puerto Rico • Rollin Fritch (WPC 1119) Cape May, New Jersey • Lawrence Lawson (WPC 1120) Cape May, New Jersey

• John McCormick (WPC 1121) Ketchikan, Alaska • Bailey Barco (WPC 1122) Ketchikan, Alaska • Benjamin Dailey (WPC 1123) Pascagoula, Mississippi • Oliver Berry (WPC 1124) Honolulu, Hawaii • Jacob Poroo (WPC 1125) Pascagoula, Mississippi • Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126) Honolulu, Hawaii • Richard Snyder (WPC 1127) Atlantic Beach, North Carolina • Nathan Bruckenthal (WPC 1128) Atlantic Beach, North Carolina • Forrest Rednour (WPC 1129) San Pedro, California • Robert Ward (WPC 1130) San Pedro, California • Terrell Horne (WPC 1131) San Pedro, California • Benjamin Bottoms (WPC 1132) San Pedro, California • Joseph Doyle (WPC 1133) San Juan, Puerto Rico • William Hart (WPC 1134) Honolulu, Hawaii • Angela McShan (WPC 1135) Cape May, New Jersey • Daniel Tarr (WPC 1136) Galveston, Texas • Edgar Culbertson (WPC 1137) Galveston, Texas • Harold Miller (WPC 1138) Galveston, Texas • Myrtle Hazard (WPC 1139) Santa Rita, Guam • Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) Santa Rita, Guam • Charles Moulthrope (WPC 1141) Manama, Bahrain • Robert Goldman (WPC 1142) Manama, Bahrain • Frederick Hatch (WPC 1143) Santa Rita, Guam • Glen Harris (WPC 1144) Manama, Bahrain


Patrol Boats, 110-foot Island Class (WPB) The Coast Guard 110-foot Island-class patrol boats are modified versions of a well-regarded British-designed patrol boat. These ships have excellent range and seakeeping capabilities, but are wearing out rapidly and are to be replaced by the FRC. Seventeen 110-foot WPBs were renovated under the Mission Effectiveness Project (MEP) to ensure the 110-foot WPB fleet remains a reliable entity until the arrival of the FRC. The MEP was completed in 2012. Built in the late 1980s, they are equipped with advanced electronics and navigation equipment. WPBs are being decommissioned as more FRCs join the fleet, and this list of Island-class vessels remaining in commission is drawn from information available at time of writing. • Length: 110 feet • Beam: 21 feet • Displacement: 154-165 tons • Power plant: Two Alco-Paxman Valenta diesel engines, 5,820 bhp • Speed: 28 to 30 knots • Range: 3,380 nautical miles at 8 knots • Armament: One Mk. 38 25 mm cannon; two .50-caliber machine guns


Coast Guard OUTLOOK

Vessels in this class: • Maui (WPB 1304) Manama, Bahrain • Mustang (WPB 1310) Seward, Alaska • Naushon (WPB 1311) Homer, Alaska • Sanibel (WPB 1312) Woods Hole, Massachusetts • Baranof (WPB 1318) Manama, Bahrain • Chandeleur (WPB 1319) Valdez, Alaska • Cuttyhunk (WPB 1322) Port Angeles, Washington • Key Largo (WPB 1324) Gloucester, Massachusetts • Monomoy (WPB 1326) Manama, Bahrain • Orcas (WPB 1327) Coos Bay, Oregon • Sitkinak (WPB 1329) Portland, Maine • Tybee (WPB 1330) Woods Hole, Massachusetts • Wrangell (WPB 1332) Manama, Bahrain • Liberty (WPB 1334) Juneau, Alaska • Anacapa (WPB 1335) Petersburg, Alaska • Kiska (WPB 1336) Santa Rita, Guam

Coastal Patrol Boats, 87-foot Marine Protector Class (WPB) The Marine Protector is an innovative, multi-mission class of vessel capable of performing SAR, law enforcement, fishery patrols, drug interdiction, illegal migrant interdiction, and


CGC Liberty

CGC Crocodile


homeland security duties up to 200 miles offshore. The 73 cutters in this class each carry an 11-person crew and are capable of achieving a maximum continuous speed of 25 knots. The class offers numerous improvements over the former 82-foot Point-class vessels, including improved seakeeping abilities (up to sea state 5), enhanced habitability, and compliance with current and projected environmental protection laws. The Marine Protector class also employs an innovative stern launch-and-recovery system using aluminum-hulled cutterboats propelled by inboard diesel-powered waterjets. The vastly larger pilothouse is equipped with an integrated bridge system, including an ECDIS (electronic chart display and information system), which interfaces with surface-search radars used by U.S. warships. Four were built specifically to protect Navy ballistic missile submarines while they are in transit in and out of Kings Bay, Georgia, and Bangor, Washington. Production was completed in 2009. • Length: 87 feet • Beam: 19.4 feet • Displacement: 91 tons full load • Power plant: Two MTU 8V diesel engines • Speed: 25 knots • Range: 900 nautical miles Vessels in this class: • Barracuda (WPB 87301) Eureka, California • Hammerhead (WPB 87302) Woods Hole, Massachusetts • Mako (WPB 87303) Gulfport, Mississippi

• Marlin (WPB 87304) Boston, Massachusetts • Stingray (WPB 87305) Mobile, Alabama • Osprey (WPB 87307) Port Townsend, Washington • Chinook (WPB 87308) Corpus Christi, Texas • Tarpon (WPB 87310) Tybee Island, Georgia • Cobia (WPB 87311) Woods Hole, Massachusetts • Hawksbill (WPB 87312) Monterey, California • Cormorant (WPB 87313) Charleston, South Carolina • Finback (WPB 87314) Jonesport, Maine • Amberjack (WPB 87315) Port Isabel, Texas • Kittiwake (WPB 87316) Honolulu, Hawaii • Blackfin (WPB 87317) Santa Barbara, California • Bluefin (WPB 87318) Virginia Beach, Virginia • Yellowfin (WPB 87319) San Juan, Puerto Rico • Coho (WPB 87321) New London, Connecticut • Kingfisher (WPB 87322) Montauk, New York • Seahawk (WPB 87323) Carrabelle, Florida • Steelhead (WPB 87324) Newport, Rhode Island • Beluga (WPB 87325) Galveston, Texas • Blacktip (WPB 87326) Oxnard, California • Pelican (WPB 87327) St. Petersburg, Florida • Ridley (WPB 87328) Mayport, Florida • Cochito (WPB 87329) Miami Beach, Florida • Manowar (WPB 87330) Galveston, Texas • Moray (WPB 87331) Grand Isle, Louisiana • Razorbill (WPB 87332) Gulfport, Mississippi • Adelie (WPB 87333) Port Angeles, Washington • Narwhal (WPB 87335) Corona del Mar, California • Sturgeon (WPB 87336) Corpus Christi, Texas • Sockeye (WPB 87337) Bodega Bay, California


• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Ibis (WPB 87338) Fort Pierce, Florida Pompano (WPB 87339) Tybee Island, Georgia Halibut (WPB 87340) Marina Del Rey, California Bonito (WPB 87341) Pensacola, Florida Shrike (WPB 87342) Sandy Hook, New Jersey Tern (WPB 87343) San Francisco, California Heron (WPB 87344) Jacksonville, Florida Wahoo (WPB 87345) Port Angeles, Washington Flying Fish (WPB 87346) Miami, Florida Haddock (WPB 87347) San Diego, California Brant (WPB 87348) St. Petersburg, Florida Petrel (WPB 87350) San Diego, California Sea Lion (WPB 87352) Bellingham, Washington Skipjack (WPB 87353) Port Canaveral, Forida Dolphin (WPB 87354) Portsmouth, Virginia Hawk (WPB 87355) Virginia Beach, Virginia Sailfish (WPB 87356) Little Creek, Virginia Sawfish (WPB 87357) Mayport, Florida Swordfish (WPB 87358) Port Angeles, Washington Tiger Shark (WPB 87359) Freeport, Texas Blue Shark (WPB 87360) Everett, Washington Sea Horse (WPB 87361) Panama City, Florida Sea Otter (WPB 87362) San Diego, California Manatee (WPB 87363) Dania, Florida Ahi (WPB 87364) Honolulu, Hawaii Pike (WPB 87365) San Francisco, California Terrapin (WPB 87366) Bellingham, Washington Sea Dragon (WPB 87367) Kings Bay, Georgia (Navy owned) Sea Devil (WPB 87368) Bangor, Washington (Navy owned) Crocodile (WPB 87369) St. Petersburg, Florida Diamondback (WPB 87370) St. Petersburg, Florida Reef Shark (WPB 87371) San Juan, Puerto Rico Alligator (WPB 87372) Galveston, Texas Sea Dog (WPB 87373) Kings Bay, Georgia (Navy owned) Sea Fox (WPB 87374) Bangor, Washington (Navy owned)

CGC Wire

Vessels in this class: • Capstan (WYTL 65601) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania • Chock (WYTL 65602) Baltimore, Maryland • Tackle (WYTL 65604) Rockland, Maine • Bridle (WYTL 65607) Southwest Harbor, Maine • Pendant (WYTL 65608) Boston, Massachusetts • Shackle (WYTL 65609) South Portland, Maine • Hawser (WYTL 65610) Bayonne, New Jersey • Line (WYTL 65611) Bayonne, New Jersey • Wire (WYTL 65612) Saugerties, New York • Bollard (WYTL 65614) New Haven, Connecticut • Cleat (WYTL 65615) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

BOATS 65-foot Small Harbor Tugs (WYTL)


Built between 1962 and 1967, the small, 65-foot harbor tugs are multi-mission cutters that have the distinction of being used only on the East Coast, from Maine to Virginia. With a crew of six, their primary missions are domestic ice breaking, port security, SAR, and law enforcement operations on rivers and in littoral areas. They are capable of breaking ice up to 12 inches thick. • • • • • •

Length: 65 feet Beam: 16 feet Displacement: 72 tons full load Power plant: One diesel, one shaft, 500 bhp Speed: 10 knots Range: 850 nautical miles at 9.8 knots; 2,700 nautical miles at 5.8 knots

Coast Guard vessels under 65 feet in length are classified as boats and usually operate near shore, on inland waterways, or attached to cutters. These craft include heavy-weather response boats, special purpose craft, ATON boats, and cutterbased boats. Sizes range from 64 feet in length down to 12 feet. Coast Guard boats include:

47-foot Motor Lifeboat (MLB) The 47-foot MLB is primarily designed as a fast-response rescue vessel in high seas, surf, and heavy weather environments. But the unique feature of this boat is that it can self-right in only 30 seconds if knocked over by waves or surf. With stateof-the-art electronically controlled engines, fuel management systems, and integrated electronics suite, the 47-foot MLB has become the ideal platform for operations in extreme sea and weather conditions. The 47-foot MLBs are undergoing refit


25-foot Response Boat-Small II (RB-S II) The 25-foot Response Boat-Small II (RB-S II) performs port and waterway security, SAR, drug and migrant interdiction, environmental, and other law enforcement missions. The second-generation RB-S IIs replaced the original RB-S classes. The RB-S II is 29 feet long and has a range of 220 nautical miles. The final RB-S II was delivered in November 2019, bringing the fleet up to 370 boats.

32-foot Transportable Port Security Boat (TPSB) Operated by port security units (PSUs), which are composed of Reserve and active-duty personnel, the TPSB provides for defense readiness operations in the United States and when PSUs are deployed overseas. It travels at 43-plus knots and carries a .50-caliber machine gun and two M60 machine guns. There are 52 in operation.

16- to 64-foot Aids to Navigation Boats These boats assist in maintaining the nearly 50,000 navigation aids on the Marine Transportation System. They include the 64-foot Self-Propelled Barge that primarily operates on protected rivers and protected waters; 55-foot aluminum hull that can operate in moderately rough weather in coastal and inland waters; 49-foot Stern Loading Buoy boat that supports the short-range ATON mission; 26-foot Trailerable ATON boat that serves as the workhorse for ATON teams; 20-foot ATON Boat-Small; and 16-foot ATON Boat-Skiff.

18- to 64-foot Special Purpose Craft 47-foot Motor Lifeboat

and renovation under the ISVS project. There are currently 107 MLBs in inventory.

The special purpose craft are designed to meet specific mission requirements or provide a capable and safe asset in a unique operating environment. A few of these boats are: 64-foot Screening Vessel; 52-foot Heavy Weather; 42-foot Near Shore Lifeboat; 36-foot Boarding Team Delivery; 33-foot Law Enforcement; 24-foot Shallow Water; skiffs that can be used to support natural disaster response; and ice boats that are used for conducting ice rescues.

45-foot Response Boat-Medium (RB-M)


Coast Guard OUTLOOK

14- to 38-foot Cutter-based Boats The cutterboats provide fast and effective surface capabilities that, in most cases, enable cutters to interdict boats on the high seas and conduct boardings. The Coast Guard is acquiring three new classes of cutterboats – the Long Range Interceptor-II (LRI-II); the Over-the-Horizon-IV (OTH-IV); and the Cutter Boat-Large (CB-L) – to complement its cutter fleet. The three classes of boats all feature enhancements over their predecessors in areas such as seakeeping, passenger capacity, navigation, communications, range, and speed. The Coast Guard is now beginning the acquisition process for the Long Range Interceptor-III and Over-the-Horizon-V replacements.


The 45-foot RB-M replaced the 41-foot Utility Boat (UTB) and other non-standard boats. It is an all-aluminum boat that has a wireless crew communication system and is powered by twin diesel engines and water jet propulsion. Unlike the 41-foot UTB, the RB-M has the ability to self-right if it should ever capsize. This feature allows the RB-M to operate in higher seas, ensuring the crew (and rescued survivors) comes home safely. For example, RB-Ms are an offshore asset and the survivability parameters are 12-foot seas and 50 knots of wind, whereas the UTB’s limits were 8-foot seas and 30 knots of wind. The RB-M has a top speed in excess of 40 knots and cruises at 30 knots, compared to the 41-foot UTB’s top speed of 26 knots.


26-foot Over-the-Horizon-IV Cutter Boat

HC-144A Ocean Sentry

AIRCRAFT 27-foot Utility Boat-Medium With a closed cabin, these aluminum-hulled boats are used for law enforcement, SAR, or ATON missions. They are being replaced by standard boats.

17- to 28-foot Utility Boat-Light (UTL) With generally an open cabin, these boats are either fiberglass or aluminum hulled and are assigned to ATON cutters and shore units.

The Coast Guard operates approximately 200 fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft – airplanes and helicopters – to support its work as a law enforcement arm, a military service branch, and a seafaring service. Nearly all Coast Guard aircraft have some role in homeland security operations, and some are now armed. The Coast Guard operates its aviation fleet on the principle that it cannot afford a fleet of aircraft intended solely for specialized missions, and has concentrated on aircraft that can carry out a wide range of diversified missions.


HC-27J Spartan

A medium-range maritime patrol version of the EADS CASA CN 235-300M cargo aircraft, the HC-144 is performing missions previously carried out by the HU-25 fleet as well as surveillance, SAR, and transport roles performed by the HC-130Hs. The HC-144 provides extended on-scene loitering capabilities while also being capable of performing maritime patrol, law enforcement, SAR, disaster response, and cargo and personnel transport missions. The Ocean Sentry also is capable of maintaining secure communications with the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and allied forces. The HC-144A – equipped with a new C4ISR suite, radar, and electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor mission systems pallet – is designed to serve as an on-scene command platform for SAR and homeland security operations and perform transport missions. The Coast Guard completed planned work under this project with the delivery of its 18th HC-144A in September 2014. Ocean Sentries are currently operating from Coast Guard Air Stations Mobile, Alabama; Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Miami, Florida; and Corpus Christi, Texas. Procurement has ended in light of the acquisition of 14 C-27J Spartans. Currently the fleet is being upgraded to HC-144B standard, with integration of the Minotaur mission system and a new cockpit control and


Coast Guard OUTLOOK

display unit (CAU) under the Ocean Sentry Refresh program. The Coast Guard accepted its ninth missionized HC-144B aircraft in December 2020. • Power plant: Two 1,750 shp (1,305 kW) General Electric CT7-9C3 turboprop engines • Maximum cruising speed: 215 knots • Range: up to 2,100 nautical miles (depending on configuration) • Range with payload: (6,000 pounds) 1,000 nautical miles (cargo configured) • Max endurance: 11.0 hours • Maximum takeoff weight: 36,380 pounds • Dimensions: Length, 70 feet, 2 inches; wingspan, 84 feet, 8 inches

C-27J Medium-Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft The Coast Guard is integrating 14 ex-U.S. Air Force C-27J Spartan aircraft into its medium-range surveillance aircraft fleet to work alongside the Ocean Sentry. The C-27Js are already outfitted with weather radar and military communications equipment capable of supporting transport and other Coast Guard missions. All 14 aircraft are planned to be missionized with a system based on the Minotaur mission system, incorporating sensors, radar, and C4ISR equipment. Six C-27Js


HC-144A/B Ocean Sentry, Medium-Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA)

C-37A Gulfstream V

are operating out of Air Station Sacramento, California. Seven aircraft are stationed at the HC-27J APO (Asset Project Office) in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Aircraft completing the missionization program will be designated HC-27J.


• Length: 74 feet, 6 inches • Wingspan: 94 feet, 2 inches • Height: 31 feet, 8 inches • Weight: 70,000 pounds • Speed: 290 knots • Range: Up to 2,674 nautical miles • Endurance: 12 hours • Ceiling: 30,000 feet

dozen C-37As operated by the other military branches. In October 2020, the Coast Guard issued a delivery order for the purchase of a new C-37B long-range command and control aircraft. • Power plant: Two 14,750-pound thrust BMW/ Rolls-Royce BR710-48 turbofan engines • Max cruising speed: Mach 0.885/459 knots • Certified ceiling: 51,000 feet • Range: 5,500 nautical miles • Gross weight: 90,900 pounds • Dimensions: Wingspan, 93 feet, 6 inches; length, 96 feet, 5 inches; height, 25 feet, 10 inches

C-37A Gulfstream V Command and Control Aircraft

HC-130H Hercules and HC-130J Super Hercules, Long Range Surveillance (LRS) Aircraft

The service operates two Gulfstream V aircraft as its principal command and control transport for senior Coast Guard and Department of Homeland Security officials. On long flights, the C-37A can carry 12 passengers and a crew of four with a range of 5,500 nautical miles, all with considerable fuel efficiency. The C-37A enjoys commonality of parts and supplies with more than a

The Coast Guard currently operates a long-range turboprop aircraft fleet consisting of the HC-130H Hercules and the HC-130J Super Hercules. However, the HC-130H Hercules aircraft are reaching the end of their useful service lives. The Coast Guard conducted a limited sustainment and enhancement project to modernize systems on its HC-130Hs and is continuing with the


HC-130H Hercules

• Power plant: Four 4,910-hp Allison T56-A15 turboprop engines (HC-130H); four 5,600-hp Rolls-Royce AE2100D turboprop engines driving six-bladed propellers (HC-130J) • Performance: Cruising speed, 280 knots/max 320 knots; service ceiling, 33,000 feet; range, up to 4,300 nautical miles (HC-130H); cruising speed, 280 knots/max 362 knots; service ceiling, 39,000 feet; range, up to 5,200 nautical miles (HC-130J)


Coast Guard OUTLOOK

• Weight: Maximum gross weight at takeoff, 155,000 pounds; normal max 175,000 pounds (EWP-Emergency War Power) • Dimensions: Wingspan, 132.6 feet; length, 99.6 feet; height, 38.6 feet; wing area, 1,734 square feet

MH-60T Jayhawk Medium-Range Recovery Helicopter An all-weather, medium-range recovery helicopter similar to the Navy MH-60R and MH-60S Sea Hawk, with roots going back to the Army’s basic H-60 Black Hawk transport, the Coast Guard MH-60 is a medium-range recovery helicopter that is capable of a variety of missions. The service began to operate the aircraft in 1990 as a replacement for the now-retired HH-3F Pelican. The Coast Guard has 45 MH-60Ts at time of writing. Jayhawks are crewed by two pilots, a flight mechanic, and a rescue swimmer, and can carry up to six seated survivors. It is capable of limited shipboard operations as well as landbased operations out to 300 nautical miles, with a 45-minute on-scene time. The MH-60T employs full night-vision-device capability. Primary tactical navigation is accomplished through blended GPS and inertial navigation system receivers. In addition to a rescue hoist – rated for 600 pounds – the Jayhawk is equipped with a heavy-lift external sling with a capacity of 6,000 pounds. The MH-60 carries sensors and equipment for SAR missions, law enforcement, and homeland security missions. Upgrades completed in 2008 providing armed response capability precipitated an airframe designation from HH-60J to MH-60J. The MH-60T is an upgrade of the MH-60J with “glass” cockpit,


planned acquisition of 22 of the more capable and cost-effective HC-130J. The remaining HC-130Hs will be systematically retired as the HC-130Js are accepted into service. The HC-130 provides a versatile platform capable of serving as an on-scene command-and-control platform with extended loitering capabilities as well as performing various missions, including maritime patrol, law enforcement, SAR, disaster response, and cargo and personnel transport. As a surveillance platform, it provides the critical means to detect, classify, and identify targets. For each of these missions, the information is shared with operational forces capable of interdicting drugs or migrants, protecting living marine resources, and enforcing economic, safety, and security zones. The HC-130 uses a powerful multimode surface-search radar and a nose-mounted EO/IR device combined with an Airborne Tactical Workstation and military satellite communications capability to improve mission effectiveness. The service’s HC-130Js will employ the Minotaur mission system; newer aircraft are being produced with the system while older aircraft are being backfitted. The Coast Guard currently has 17 Super Hercules in service or production.

MH-60T Jayhawk


new EO/IR sensors, new radar, and upgrades to the engines. All MH-60Ts are equipped with Airborne Use of Force (AUF) capabilities. These upgraded MH-60Ts are expected to serve into the 2030s. The Coast Guard is replacing MH-60T airframes as they reach the end of their operational lifetimes under a Service Life Extension Program (SLEP) upgrade for the fleet, to keep it flying until replacement by an aircraft derived from the Future Vertical Lift program. • Power plant: Two 1,890 shp General Electric T700-GE-401C turboshaft engines • Dimensions: Rotor diameter: 53 feet, 8 inches; length, 64 feet, 10 inches; height, 17 feet; main rotor disc area, 2,261 square feet • Performance: Maximum speed, 170 knots; service ceiling, 5,000 feet, hovering; range, 700 nautical miles • Weights: Empty, 14,500 pounds; gross weight, 21,884 pounds • Armament: .50-caliber precision fire weapon, M240 7.62 mm machine gun

MH-65 Dolphin Short-Range Recovery Helicopter The H-65 Dolphin is the Coast Guard’s oldest and most numerous current helicopter, dating to the 1980s when it was selected for the short-range rescue mission, and one of the service’s first helicopters without the capability to perform water landings. The H-65 is a short-range recovery aircraft. This twinengine, single-rotor helicopter is certified for all weather and nighttime operations, but it is prohibited from flying under known icing conditions. The strengths of this aircraft include its speed, flexibility, and integrated electronics package. The H-65 is the Coast Guard’s standard shipboard deployable aircraft and operates from all flight deck-equipped cutters. Navigation inputs are processed through a central mission computer unit, which can generate search patterns from pilot-provided input. This minimizes the attention needed to navigate the aircraft and maximizes search effectiveness. Endurance of the H-65 is limited, with a maximum endurance profile at 75 knots of 3.5 hours. The aircraft can sprint at speeds up to 165 knots for short periods and sustain speeds of more than 140 knots.


MH-65D Dolphin


Coast Guard OUTLOOK

brings the fleet to MH-65E standard, replacing the analog automatic flight control with digital systems, and installing digital weather radar and digital glass cockpit instruments, among other modernization upgrades. Fifteen of 96 Coast Guard MH-65s have been completed to MH-65E standard as of February 2021. • Power plant: Two 853-shp Turbomeca Arriel 2C2-CG turboshaft engines • Performance: Maximum speed, 175 knots; cruising speed, 148 knots; operational ceiling, approximately 10,000 feet; range, 350 nautical miles • Weights: Empty weight, 6,200 pounds; max gross weight, 9,480 pounds • Dimensions: Main rotor diameter, 39 feet, 2 inches; main rotor disc area, 1,204 square feet; length, 44 feet, 5 inches; height, 13 feet, 3 inches • MH-65C Armament: .50-caliber precision fire weapon, M240B 7.62 mm machine gun


An AUF capability was added to all H-65s, resulting in their redesignation as MH-65C. The MH-65C also obtained SATCOM capability, an integrated EO/IR system, head up display (HUD), and night vision optics to help pilots maintain situational awareness during nighttime operations. The MH-65s used by Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron, or HITRON, Jacksonville, Florida, for counterdrug operations carry an M240 machine gun and an M107 .50-caliber precision fire weapon for disabling fire. The MH-65D is the result of the latest incremental modernization project, Segment 4 of a six-segment modernization plan, which commenced in August 2010, was completed in December 2015, and extends the aircraft’s service life through 2027. It addressed immediate critical mission degraders as well as replacing additional obsolete subsystems, including the aircraft’s navigation system and gyros, with digital GPS and inertial navigation. It adds a new digital Automatic Flight Control System, integrated flight deck with sensor display screens, and a robust, effective C4ISR suite. The service’s final MH-65D upgrade was completed in December 2015. Segment 6, which is underway now,

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