Coast Guard Commissions Hawaii's First Fast Response Cutter

USCG will be acquiring 58 FRCs to conduct missions that include search and rescue; fisheries enforcement; drug and migrant interdiction; ports, waterways, and coastal security; and national defense.

The U.S. Coast Guard has commissioned the first of three 154-foot fast response cutters that will be patrolling Hawaiian waters and will be stationed at Base Honolulu by the spring of 2019, Chief Petty Officer Sara Muir reported Nov. 1. USCG will be acquiring 58 FRCs to replace the 110-foot Island-class patrol boats; the new vessels will conduct missions that include search and rescue; fisheries enforcement; drug and migrant interdiction; ports, waterways, and coastal security; and national defense.

The Coast Guard took delivery of Oliver Berry in June 2017 in Key West, Fla., and the ship arrived in Hawaii on Sept. 22, according to her report.

Muir reported that the new vessels "will make the waters around the main Hawaiian Islands a much safer place for recreational boaters and users of the waterway. They greatly improve our on water presence with each providing over 7,500 operational hours, a 40 percent increase over the existing 110-foot patrol boats."

The FRCs are the Sentinel class and are named for Coast Guard enlisted heroes, she reported, adding that the first cutter is named for Chief Petty Officer Oliver Fuller Berry, a South Carolina native and skilled mechanic who was a pioneer in the field of helicopter maintenance working on early Coast Guard aircraft. "Berry is considered one of the world’s first experts on the maintenance of helicopters, serving as lead instructor at the first military helicopter training unit, the Rotary Wing Development Unit established at Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, in 1946. He also helped develop the helicopter rescue hoist," she explained.

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