Just a short note to highlight the existence of a couple of unusual units that may not be familiar. They have an important, if largely unrecognized mission. These are the Coast Guard’s Maritime Force Protection Units Bangor, WA and Kings Bay, GA.
The units are perhaps unique in that they have only a single mission, and they are funded by the Navy. They protect Fleet Ballistic Missile submarines while they transit on the surface, to and from their homeports. The possibility of a USS Cole style attack motivated their creation. Each unit consist of approximately 200 Coasties and is commanded by an O-5. Having CG crews and carrying CG colors and markings allows them to enforce a security zone around the subs. Both units stood up in July 2007.
They have some unique equipment too, including four 87 footers that were purchased with Navy funds. They are recognizable because of the stabilized remotely controlled machine guns mounted high on the bow.
- SEA DRAGON WPB 87367 Delivered NOV 2007 Kings Bay, GA
- SEA DEVIL WPB 87368 Delivered Feb 2008 Bangor, WA
- SEA DOG WPB 87373 Delivered April 2009 Kings Bay, GA
- SEA FOX WPB 87374 Delivered May 2009 Bangor, WA
Photo Credit: KEYPORT, Wash. (Aug. 18, 2009) U. S. Coast Guardsmen man the rails as the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sea Fox (WPB 87374) is brought to life at Naval Base Kitsap. (U.S. Navy photo Ray Narimatsu/Released)
The names chosen for these Navy purchased vessels all reprise submarines that fought in WWII. A contemporary report on the arrival of Sea Devil indicates these 87 footers are manned differently as well,
“To carry out its new mission, the Sea Devil carries more crew than most 87-footers, who require more training than most, and it packs more firepower.
“Instead of 11 “racks,” or beds, and a crew of 10, the Sea Devil will carry 12 racks and a crew of 15 because of the extra hours and training anticipated for the unique mission.
“Along with two .50-caliber automatic weapons mounted on each side of the vessel, a third is mounted near the bridge.”
They have a lot of other boats as well, including some non-standard types, like the one in which the Chairman of the Joint Chief took a ride.
Photo Credit: Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pilots a 64-foot Special Purpose Craft in Puget Sound, Oct. 04, 2012, as part of a familiarization tour of Coast Guard units in the Pacific Northwest. The special purpose craft is based at the Marine Force Protection Unit in Silverdale, Wash. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan W. Bradshaw.