“U.S. Navy Intercepts More Than 2,000 Assault Rifles Shipped from Iran”

Thousands of AK-47 assault rifles sit on the flight deck of guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) during an inventory process, Jan. 7. U.S. naval forces seized 2,116 AK-47 assault rifles from a fishing vessel transiting along a maritime route from Iran to Yemen. (Photo by U.S. Navy)

Below is a press release from U.S. Naval Forces Central Command reporting interdiction of an arms smuggling operation. The initial interception and boarding were done by, soon to be decommissioned, Cyclone class patrol ship USS Chinook. She was supported by another, soon to be decommissioned, Cyclone class USS Monsoon and destroyer USS The Sullivans.

At one time there were ten Cyclone class patrol ships based in Bahrain, along with six Island class patrol boats and for a while some MkVI patrol boats. Apparently, there are still five Cyclone class, based in Bahrain, doing useful work for the USN. Looks like soon, there will only be the six Webber class of Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia.

Apparently, 5th Fleet expects the unmanned systems of Task force 59 to perform some of the patrol functions, but I have to wonder if six patrol craft are enough?


MANAMA, Bahrain —

U.S. naval forces intercepted a fishing vessel in the Gulf of Oman, Jan. 6, and discovered it smuggling 2,116 AK-47 assault rifles while transiting international waters along a maritime route from Iran to Yemen.

A U.S. Navy boarding team from patrol coastal ship USS Chinook (PC 9) initially discovered and seized the weapons with support from USS Monsoon (PC 4) and guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68). The intercepted vessel, which was sailing on a route historically used to traffic illicit cargo to the Houthis in Yemen, was crewed by six Yemeni nationals.

The direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer of weapons to the Houthis violates U.N. Security Council Resolution 2216 and international law. The transfer of the vessel and its crew for repatriation is in progress.

“This shipment is part of a continued pattern of destabilizing activity from Iran,” said Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. “These threats have our attention. We remain vigilant in detecting any maritime activity that impedes freedom of navigation or compromises regional security.”

In the past two months, U.S. 5th Fleet has also intercepted two other fishing vessels in the Gulf of Oman smuggling lethal aid from Iran to Yemen.

Forces operating from expeditionary sea base USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3) seized more than 50 tons of ammunition rounds, fuses and propellants for rockets, Dec. 1. Weeks earlier on Nov. 8, The Sullivans, USS Hurricane (PC 3) and U.S. Coast Guard ship USCGC John Scheuerman (WPC 1146) intercepted more than 70 tons of ammonium perchlorate, a powerful oxidizer commonly used to make rocket and missile fuel, as well as 100 tons of urea fertilizer.

The U.S. 5th Fleet operating area includes 21 countries, the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea, parts of the Indian Ocean and three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, Bab al-Mandeb and Suez Canal.

Fast Response Cutter / Navy MkVI Patrol Boat –Peter Ong

Today we have a guest author, Peter Ong. This is Peter’s sixth post on this blog, and he is now a regular contributor to Naval News. In this post, he reports a conversation with Coast Guard Cutter Forces about why the success of the Coast Guard’s Fast Response Cutter program has allowed  the Navy to cancel their MkVI patrol boat program that at one time was expected to produce 48 patrol boats.

The MkVI had only very austere galley and messing facilities, a Microwave and MREs. They were not expected to be underway more than 24 hours. The FRCs endurance, allowing days, rather than hours, on station to intercept drug and arms smugglers and their abilitiy to support counter UAS systems may be providing capabilities the MkVI simply could not have.

220822-A-KS490-1182 STRAIT OF HORMUZ (Aug. 22, 2022) From the left, U.S. Coast Guard fast response cutters USCGC Glen Harris (WPC 1144), USCGC John Scheuerman (WPC 1146), USCGC Emlen Tunnell (WPC 1145) and USCGC Clarence Sutphin Jr. (WPC 1147) transit the Strait of Hormuz, Aug. 22. The cutters are forward-deployed to U.S. 5th Fleet to help ensure maritime security and stability across the Middle East. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Noah Martin)

When is a ship a boat and when is a boat a ship? When is an apple an orange and when is an orange an apple? Answer: they are not as these are two different and distinct things when it comes to comparing the warships of the U.S. Coast Guard to the MkVI patrol boats of the U.S. Navy.

A U.S. Navy Mark VI patrol boat with Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron TWO moves through the water prior to a live fire exercise in the Philippine Sea, Feb. 27, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by 1st Lt. Stephanie Murphy).

The U.S. Navy is divesting of their 12 in-service Mark VI Patrol Boats, which at the Surface Navy Association 2021, Major General Tracy King, USMC, Director, Expeditionary Warfare (N95) stated that the twelve Mark VIs “Were very expensive to maintain.” However, many critics and pundits of the Mark VIs’ early retirement cite that the Mark VIs still have a lot of life left in them and that their high speeds and heavy armament makes them an asset to special forces, Marines, and Navy SEALs. Mark VIs also perform capital ship escort screenings and contribute to Distributed Lethality and Distributed Maritime Operations by having a smaller vessel signature that might help U.S. Marines move around and slip ashore undetected.

In a phone interview on September 29, 2022 with United States Coast Guard (USCG) Captain John J. Driscoll, Office of Cutter Forces (CG-751), the U.S. Coast Guard captain made a comment about the Sentinel-class Fast Response Cutters (FRC) substituting for the U.S. Navy’s Mark VI Patrol Boats in the Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA) region and other parts of the globe.

The U.S. Navy plans to replace the Mark VIs and the aging Patrol Coastal boats in the PATFORSWA region with USCG FRCs. When asked how the cutter fleet is integrated with the U.S. Navy and the Department of Defense, the captain replied that the cutter fleet is built into different operational security plans within the U.S. Department of Defense, but these plans are not discussable.

Captain Driscoll said that the Coast Guard’s Fast Response Cutters and the Mark VI are different assets and have different capabilities. The 65 planned FRCs have much greater range and greater endurance (5 days, 2,500 nautical miles (4,600 km; 2,900 mi) and are designed to be on patrol 2,500 hours per year) than the U.S. Navy’s Mark VI Patrol Boats (750 nautical miles (860 mi; 1,390 km) at 25 knots; 690 nautical miles (790 mi; 1,280 km) at 30 knots).

The captain mentioned that the FRC is tremendously capable and different in how it integrates with the Department of Defense and one can’t make comparisons between the Navy’s Mark VI and the USCG’s Fast Response Cutters because the FRC is a commissioned warship of the United States with an assigned crew whereas the Mark VI is just a patrol boat—a ship versus a boat—the ship is larger. The FRC is 154-feet long (46.9 m) with a beam of 25-feet (7.6 m) whereas the Mark VI Patrol Boat is 84.8-feet (25.8 m) long with a beam of 20.5-feet (6.2 m).

Armament is about the same between the two vessels (a Mark 38 MOD 2 25mm autocannon forward with crew-served 12.7mm heavy machine guns and grenade launcher(s) aft) with the Mark VI sporting more armament (another potential Mark 38 25mm autocannon aft and potential crew-served 40mm automatic grenade launchers or 12.7mm heavy machine guns. Some PATFORSWA FRCs will receive the Mark 38 MOD 3 with a 7.62mm coaxial chaingun to the bow 25mm autocannon and a 40mm automatic grenade launcher).

Nonetheless, one can see the huge difference in operational range. Furthermore, the success of the 65 planned Coast Guard FRCs eclipses the 12 Mark VI U.S. Navy Patrol Boats in terms of production numbers. Furthermore, the Mark VI is propelled by waterjets to 45 knots (52 mph; 83 km/h) whereas the FRC has propellers that drive it at 28+ knots. Repeated requests to the U.S. Navy asking for explanation on “[The Mark VIs are] very expensive to maintain” were not answered, but one can assume that it takes a lot of time, labor, and money to clean out the Mark VI’s waterjet intakes and impellers compared to the more easily accessible external shaft and propellers on the Fast Response Cutters when operating in littoral waters potentially teeming with flotsam and seaweed.

FRC range and endurance are important. Captain Driscoll stated that the FRCs are working in the Papua New Guinea and Indonesian region to combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and are working with partner nations to address the competition for maritime resources.

As for possible up-arming of the FRCs with the Mark 38 MOD 4 30mm autocannon, that is a retrofit possibility, noted the captain, although the upcoming Polar Security Cutter (PSC) heavy icebreakers will receive the 30mm autocannons first, two on each PSC. Captain Driscoll mentioned that the 30mm autocannon is in the U.S. Navy acquisition system and that the USCG and U.S. Navy both decide on future cutter armament. Programmable and airbursting 30mm ammunition options are not discussable although if the U.S. Navy has the specialized and advanced 30mm ammunition in its inventory, the USCG can also use it depending on the cutter’s mission parameters.

The new Mark 38 Mod 4 30mm naval gun system on display on MSI Defence stand at Sea Air Space 2022. It can, in theory and with funding, be retrofitted aboard existing USCG cutters if agreed upon between the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard. Photo: NavalNews

“U.S. Coast Guard invests time with Oceania partners, initiates Operation Rematau” –D14

The crew USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) visit Ulithi Atoll on Oct. 31, 2022, the first time a fast response cutter visited the atoll and delivered 20 boxes of supplies, 50 personal floatation devices, and sporting equipment donated by the cutter crew, the extended U.S. Coast Guard Guam family, Ulithi Falalop Community Action Program, Guam Island Girl Power Foundation, and Ayuda Foundation. Ulithi was a central U.S. staging area during World War II, and home to a U.S. Coast Guard Loran-C communications station from 1944 to 1965 before operations relocated to Yap and ultimately shuttered in 1987. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Zena Suzuki)

Below is a press release by US Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam, part of District 14. The photo above shows how loaded Oliver Henry was for the trip to Ulithi. I have included a photo of only part of the US Fleet at anchorage in the Ulithi Lagoon in WWII to show how important this location was to us in WWII.  Looks like the crew had quite an adventure.

Ulithi Atoll north anchorage and Sorlen Island, late 1944.

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia / Sector Guam

U.S. Coast Guard invests time with Oceania partners, initiates Operation Rematau

The crew USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) delivers supplies to Ulithi Atoll The crew USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) visit Ulithi Atoll A Ulithi Atoll resident departs the beach with a Go Coast Guard sign
USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) crew conducts training with FSM Fisheries and Maritime Institute cadets USCGC Oliver Henry crew attend World Coconut Day Yap Catholic High School students stand for a photo with the crew of USCGC Oliver Henry

Editor’s Note: Click on the images above to view more or download high-resolution versions.

SANTA RITA, Guam — The crew USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) kicked off Operation Rematau conducting a two-week, nearly 2,000 nautical mile deployment to the high seas and the Federated States of Micronesia countering illegal fishing and strengthening partnerships from Oct. 24 to Nov. 6.

“Operation Rematau is how U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia Sector Guam supports the overarching Coast Guard endeavor Operation Blue Pacific to promote security, safety, sovereignty, and economic prosperity in Oceania,” said Capt. Nick Simmons, commander, CGFMSG. “Rematau means people of the deep sea. It recognizes what our Pacific Island Forum leaders know — securing the future requires long-term vision and a carefully considered regional strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent. It reinforces our commitment to working together to advance Pacific regionalism based on the Blue Pacific narrative, action which supports our national security objectives, bolstering maritime governance and security.”

The Oliver Henry crew conducted multiple engagements and patrolled the exclusive economic zone of FSM during the deployment. FSM is a group of more than 600 islands in the North Pacific Ocean spanning a swath of ocean 1,480 nautical miles end to end. It sits about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Indonesia, consisting of four states – Pohnpei, Chuuk, Yap, and Kosrae.

“The U.S. Coast Guard, present in the region since before World War II, continues operations in the Federated States of Micronesia, supporting our partners to ensure their sovereignty and resource security,” said Simmons. “I am proud of this team. We consider this a regular patrol for our cutters at Forces Micronesia, but regular still means transiting over 460 nautical miles to reach our partners.”

Oliver Henry’s first stop was Ulithi Atoll, the first time a fast response cutter visited the atoll. Ulithi was a central U.S. staging area during World War II, and home to a U.S. Coast Guard Loran-C communications station from 1944 to 1965 before operations relocated to Yap and ultimately shuttered in 1987. Oliver Henry delivered 20 boxes of supplies to Ulithi, 50 personal floatation devices, and sporting equipment donated by the cutter crew, the extended U.S. Coast Guard Guam family, Ulithi Falalop Community Action Program, Guam Island Girl Power Foundation, and Ayuda Foundation.

Their second stop was Yap. With coordination from the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Army Pacific colleagues, the crew undertook several community engagements and Subject Matter Expert Exchanges, meeting leaders, working with students, and providing tours to interested residents.

“It was a privilege to host Yap’s Council of Pilung – the council of traditional chiefs aboard the cutter,” said Lt. Freddy Hofschneider, commanding officer of Oliver Henry. “The council protects the traditions and customs of the people, and to be welcomed in by them is no small matter. Our visit culminated in our invitation to attend Yap’s first-ever World Coconut Day celebration as honorary guests. It was a whole of community event that included a parade, a large spread of island cuisine, ceremonial dances, and fun activities.”

The SMEE took place with 42 cadets and 28 faculty from FSM’s Fisheries and Maritime Institute, which included shipboard familiarization covering seamanship, navigation, law enforcement, damage control, engineering casualty control, and small boat operations. In addition to the knowledge exchange, the Oliver Henry crew presented FSM FMI with 100 PFDs donated by CGFMSG.

“We appreciate Dean Tioti Teburea’s time and support to make this event a success. The cadets truly enjoyed their time with us, and it is always an honor for the crew to showcase shipboard life and Coast Guard operations across the island communities. It was a mutually beneficial event, where we exchanged nautical knowledge and best practices,” said Hofschneider. “Numerous cadets showed strong interest in maritime work and the Coast Guard. We look forward to expanded engagements and underway opportunities with the cadets.”

The Oliver Henry team held recruiting events in Yap with visits to two local high schools and speaking with juniors and seniors. The crew provided ship tours to interested students from both schools, with 65 students visiting the cutter.

The U.S. and its Allies are trusted partners in Oceania. Regular regional patrols support the shared goals of Indo-Pacific Command and the Pacific Quadrilateral Defence Coordination Group (Australia, France, New Zealand, and the United States) in support of PIF countries to combat the significant threat of illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing in their EEZs and improve food security. The scope of U.S. Coast Guard activities helps address maritime security concerns expressed by the PIF in the 2018 Boe Declaration, echoed in the recent U.S.-Pacific Island Country Summit held in Washington, D.C.

“Our Service’s capability and reach were noted during the biannual FSM joint committee meeting last month,” said Simmons. “Sending Oliver Henry now and doing further engagements in the country soon delivers on U.S. commitments to our Blue Pacific partners. Our exchanges enhance good maritime governance and build capacity that continues a generational legacy of positive bilateral relations with FSM.”

The Oliver Henry is the 40th 154-foot Sentinel-class fast response cutter named for Oliver T. Henry, Jr., an enlisted African American Coast Guard member first to break the color barrier of a then-segregated Service. During World War II, Henry served under Lt. Cmdr. Carlton Skinner. The latter became the first civilian Governor of Guam and played a critical role in developing the Organic Act in 1950. Henry blazed a trail for minorities in the U.S. military as he climbed from enlisted ranks while serving on ten Coast Guard cutters, finally retiring as a chief warrant officer in 1966.

The U.S. Coast Guard commissioned Oliver Henry, along with sister ships Myrtle Hazard (WPC 1139) and Frederick Hatch (WPC 1143), in Guam in July 2021. These cutters are a vital part of the U.S. Coast Guard’s enduring regional presence serving the people of the Pacific by conducting 10 of the Service’s 11 statutory missions with a focus on search and rescue, defense readiness, living marine resources protection, and ensuring commerce through marine safety and ports, waterways, and coastal security.

For more U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam news, visit us on DVIDS or subscribe! You can also visit us on Facebook or Instagram at @USCGForcesMicronesia or Twitter @USCGFMSG. 

“Hellfire Missile With Roughly Three Times More Range Tested…” –The Drive

New Lockheed Hellfire/JASM launcher discussed earlier

The Drive reports an exercise that claimed to employ an enhanced version of Hellfire with a range about three times as great as that of the previous versions. Hellfire’s replacement, JASM, perhaps more accurately an upgraded Hellfire, has now been approved for full rate production and there have been reports that a longer range version was in the works.

Beyond the air-launched advantages, this missile would be hugely beneficial for sea-launched applications, such as the LCS. Beyond that, it could be extremely beneficial in servicing Hellfire’s growing surface-to-air role, as well.

Since the typically reported surface to surface range of the Hellfire is 8 km, three times that would be 24 km or over 26,000 yards (equal to the longest ranged battleship hit in WWII). In most cases, that means it can reach anything within the visual horizon. It would also mean, it would out range our 57 and 76mm guns. If this longer ranged Hellfire/JASM is mounted on the new 30 mm Mk38 Mod4, it could mean even Polar Security Cutters will have a potentially more potent weapon than the 57mm Mk110, with a much smaller footprint and lower maintenance requirements.

The weapon would certainly be a welcomed addition to the Webber class patrol craft of PATFORSWA because it would give them greatly enhanced capability against swarming small inshore attack craft, helicopters, and UAS, threats common in their operating area.

As I noted earlier, JASM could provide Coast Guard vessels as small as patrol boats, with a much more accurate, more powerful, and longer ranged response to the need to be able to forcibly stop vessels both small and large, while also providing counter UAS, a degree of anti-aircraft protection, and should it ever be required, a naval fire support ashore capability.

“Media Advisory: First New England-based Fast Response Cutter to arrive in Boston” –D1/Six FRCs Coming to Boston

The 50th fast response cutter, William Chadwick, was delivered to the Coast Guard Aug. 4 2022, in Key West, Florida. It will be homeported in Boston. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

A news release from First District. The big news here is that there will be six FRCs assigned to Boston. Wikipedia had already identified five as going to Boston. (Incidentally the photo in the news release is not of USCGC William Chadwick, it is USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) arriving in Port Moresby.)

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard 1st District Northeast

Media Advisory: First New England-based Fast Response Cutter to arrive in Boston

U.S Coast Guard conducts port visit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Editors note: Media interested in attending the ship’s arrival are requested to RSVP with d1publicaffairs@uscg.mil no later than 4 p.m. Wednesday.

BOSTON — Coast Guard Cutter William Chadwick (WPC-1150) is scheduled to arrive Thursday following a transit from Key West, Fla. The newly-built William Chadwick was accepted by the Coast Guard on August 4, and will be the first of six Fast Response Cutters homeported in Boston.

The cutter’s arrival will include a water salute from the Boston Fire Department and air escort by an Air Station Cape Cod, Mass., MH-60 Jayhawk crew. Crew families, and Coast Guard personnel will be providing a pier side welcoming party for their arrival.

WHO: Lt. Cmdr. Tyler Kelley, commanding officer of the William Chadwick, along with the ship’s crew.

WHAT: Arrival of USCGC William Chadwick to Boston

WHEN: Thursday September 29, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. Media are requested to arrive by 12:30 p.m. to clear security and be escorted to the pier

WHERE: Coast Guard Base Boston, 427 Commercial St., Boston, MA 02109

The Sentinel-class fast response cutter (FRC) is designed for multiple missions, including drug and migrant interdiction; ports, waterways and coastal security; fishery patrols; search and rescue; and national defense. The Coast Guard has ordered 65 FRCs to replace the 1980s-era Island-class 110-foot patrol boats. The FRCs feature advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment; over the horizon cutter boat deployment to reach vessels of interest; and improved habitability and seakeeping.

The ship’s commissioning ceremony will be held November 10, 2022 at Base Boston.

Born in Dover, New Jersey, the cutter’s namesake was a keeper of the Green Island Lifeboat Station in New Jersey and recipient of the Congressional Gold Lifesaving Medal for his rescue of the crew of the schooner George Taulane on Feb. 3, 1880. Chadwick remained keeper of Green Island Station until his retirement in August 1886.

“U.S. Coast Guard arrives for planned port visit in Cairns, Australia” –Adventures in Paradise with the Webber Class

The Sentinel-class fast response cutter USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) arrive in Cairns for engagements with Australian Defence and Home Affairs partners and local representatives, Aug. 31, 2022. The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting a routine deployment in Oceania as part of Operation Blue Pacific, working alongside Allies, building maritime domain awareness, and sharing best practices with partner nation navies and coast guards. Op Blue Pacific is an overarching multi-mission U.S. Coast Guard endeavor promoting security, safety, sovereignty, and economic prosperity in Oceania while strengthening relationships with our regional partners. (U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy USCGC Oliver Henry)

The six Hawaii and Guam based Webber class Fast Response Cutters do seem to get around. USCGC Oliver Henry made it to North Eastern Australia, mooring at Her Majesty’s Australian Station Cairns, which is home to some Australian Navy patrol, hydrographic, and survey vessels. Cairns looks like a delightful little city (population in June 2019 was 153,951). Not bad after no one tossed out the welcome mat in the Solomon Islands. The crew is going to have a lot of sea stories.

Cairns is a bit over 1800 nautical miles South of Oliver Henry’s homeport in Guam.

News Release

U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia / Sector Guam

U.S. Coast Guard arrives for planned port visit in Cairns, Australia

The Oliver Henry is the first U.S. Coast Guard fast response cutter ever to fly the Australian ensign.  The Sentinel-class fast response cutter USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) command stand for a photo with Cmdr. Alfonso Santos, commander of HMAS Cairns, and Capt. Toby Reid, U.S. Coast Guard representative to the defense attache office of the U.S. Embassy in Australia,
USCGC Oliver Henry meets with Cairns regional Council and mayor The Sentinel-class fast response cutter USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) arrive in Cairns for engagements with Australian Defence and Home Affairs partners and local representatives, Aug. 31, 2022

Editor’s Note: Click on the images above to view or download more.

CAIRNS, Australia — The Sentinel-class fast response cutter USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) crew arrived in Cairns for engagements with Australian Defence and Home Affairs partners and local representatives, Aug. 31.

“A cutter arrival to Australia is another first, not only for U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia but also our fast response cutter fleet and is a reminder of our Service’s commitment to our partners and our enduring presence in the region,” said Capt. Nick Simmons, commander U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam. “The ship driver in me was envious when Lt. Hofschneider reported ‘OH transiting southbound along Inner Great Barrier Reef Passage enroute to Cairns. No issues or concerns.’ Not the kind of thing many Coast Guard members have ever written or said.”

Before arrival in port, Oliver Henry’s crew operated at sea with aerial support from the Australian Border Forces in the Torres Strait. While in port, the two nations will continue to build on the relationship forged at sea. Upon arrival, the crew was greeted by representatives from the Royal Australian Navy HMAS Cairns and the U.S. embassy. They were also guests of the Cairns Regional Council.

“It is an honor for Oliver Henry and her crew to visit and host our Australian friends,” said Lt. Freddy Hofschneider, the Oliver Henry commanding officer. “The U.S. and Australia have been standing side-by-side for more than 100 years. This is more than a partnership, it is mateship. The U.S. Coast Guard looks forward to more opportunities where we can work with the Australian Border Force, Royal Australian Navy, and other Australian partners to advance the rule of law at sea.”

During their stop in Cairns, members of Oliver Henry anticipate engagements with local officials and the community while also experiencing local culture.

The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting a routine deployment in Oceania as part of Operation Blue Pacific, working alongside Allies, building maritime domain awareness, and sharing best practices with partner nation navies and coast guards. Op Blue Pacific is an overarching multi-mission U.S. Coast Guard endeavor promoting security, safety, sovereignty, and economic prosperity in Oceania while strengthening relationships with our regional partners.

The Oliver Henry is the 40th Sentinel-class fast response cutter. The ship was commissioned along with its sister ships, Myrtle Hazard and Frederick Hatch, in Guam in July 2021. In the time since, the crew has participated in several search and rescue cases, completed a counternarcotics patrol off Guam with the Japan Coast Guard, and conducted sovereignty and fisheries patrols in the Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam area of responsibility.

For more U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam news, visit us on DVIDS or subscribe! You can also visit us on Facebook at @USCGForcesMicronesia.

For more U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam news, visit us on DVIDS or subscribe! You can also visit us on Facebook at @USCGSectorGuam.

PATFORSWA Now Has Six Webber Class

220822-A-KS490-1182 STRAIT OF HORMUZ (Aug. 22, 2022) From the left, U.S. Coast Guard fast response cutters USCGC Glen Harris (WPC 1144), USCGC John Scheuerman (WPC 1146), USCGC Emlen Tunnell (WPC 1145) and USCGC Clarence Sutphin Jr. (WPC 1147) transit the Strait of Hormuz, Aug. 22. The cutters are forward-deployed to U.S. 5th Fleet to help ensure maritime security and stability across the Middle East. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Noah Martin)

The planned six Webber Class contingent for PATFORSWA is now complete. See the press release below.


08.23.2022

Story by NAVCENT Public Affairs   

U.S. Naval Forces Central Command / U.S. 5th Fleet

MANAMA, Bahrain – Two U.S. Coast Guard fast response cutters arrived in Bahrain, Aug. 23, marking the arrival to their ultimate destination after departing Key West, Florida in June.

USCGC John Scheuerman (WPC 1146) and USCGC Clarence Sutphin Jr. (WPC 1147) are two of the Coast Guard’s six newest Sentinel-class fast response cutters (FRC) now stationed in Bahrain where U.S. 5th Fleet is headquartered.

“This arrival represents the culmination of years of tireless effort and exceptional teamwork,” said Capt. Eric Helgen, commander of Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA). “These newest FRCs bring us to our full complement of six ships and mark the beginning of a new era of extraordinary maritime capability supporting U.S. 5th Fleet.”

The Sentinel-class cutters in Bahrain are overseen by PATFORSWA, the Coast Guard’s largest unit outside of the United States. The ships are forward-deployed to U.S. 5th Fleet to help ensure maritime security and stability across the Middle East.

“We are extremely excited to be here and look forward continuing to work with international partners in the region,” said Lt. David Anderson, commanding officer of Clarence Sutphin Jr. “Completing this more than 10,000-nautical-mile transit to Bahrain has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

John Scheuerman and Clarence Sutphin Jr. were commissioned in February and April 2022 respectively. The 154-foot long vessels feature advanced communications systems and improved surveillance and reconnaissance equipment.

“U.S. Coast Guard participating in Operation Island Chief, Operation Blue Pacific 2022” –News Release

The USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) crew arrives in Manus, Papua New Guinea, on Aug. 14, 2022, from Guam as part of a patrol headed south to assist partner nations in upholding and asserting their sovereignty while protecting U.S. national interests. The U.S. Coast Guard is participating with partners to support the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency-led Operation Island Chief and the larger Operation Blue Pacific through patrols in the Western Pacific in August and September 2022. The other two patrol boats are Australian built Guardian class. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by USCGC Oliver Henry)

Just passing along this news release from U. S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam.


U.S. Coast Guard participating in Operation Island Chief, Operation Blue Pacific 2022

 The USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) gets underway on Aug. 8, 2022, from Guam for a patrol headed south to assist partner nations in upholding and asserting their sovereignty while protecting U.S. national interests.  The USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) crew, including ship riders from Papua New Guinea, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Navy, take a moment for a photo aboard the ship off Manus, Papua New Guinea, Aug. 14, 2022.

Editor’s Note: Click on the images above to view more images and b-roll video
or download high-resolution versions.

MANUS, Papua New Guinea — The U.S. Coast Guard is participating with partners to support the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency-led Operation Island Chief and the larger Operation Blue Pacific through patrols in the Western Pacific in August and September 2022.

“Employing our unique authorities, capabilities, and access within Oceania is a privilege. We are eager to further integrate with our Allies and regional partners to protect national interests and combat illicit maritime activity such as illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing,” said Capt. Nick Simmons, U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam commander. “Strengthening governance and modeling professional maritime behavior on the high seas and the surrounding waters is one way to counter predatory activity and reinforce the Pacific as a positive center of gravity and sustainable economy.”

The operation covers a substantial area of the Pacific on the high seas and the exclusive economic zones of the Federated States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, and the Solomon Islands, while renewing relationships bolstered by local knowledge and expertise.

The USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140), a 154-foot Sentinel-class fast response cutter, and crew deployed from Guam are making their first port call of the patrol in Manus, Papua New Guinea. During the patrol, the cutter will also have aerial support from a forward deployed HC-130 Hercules airplane crew from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point and New Zealand Defence Force P3 Orion airplane crew. Where possible, the crew will also conduct subject matter expert exchanges and engagements.

Operation Island Chief is one of four operations conducted annually under FFA. It includes the Pacific waters of 11 participating FFA member nations – Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Nauru, the Marshall Islands, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

“The Oliver Henry crew are committed to regional collaboration and sharing best practices to strengthen our relationships and information sharing,” said Lt. Freddy Hofschneider, commanding officer of Oliver Henry. “The U.S. Coast Guard has been a dedicated partner in the region for decades. We appreciate the support of our colleagues as we take this ship across vast distances in this region, making some transits and port calls for the first time.”

A significant emphasis of the operation for the U.S. Coast Guard is the ongoing emphasis on fisheries and resource protection.

“The Pacific Ocean is home to some of the world’s most abundant fisheries,” said Simmons. “These fisheries are living marine resources, part of the global food chain, representing food security and an economic engine for many of the Pacific Island Nations. By leveraging our cutters, aircraft, and intelligence professionals, the U.S. Coast Guard continues our strong partnership with the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency and its members to protect this vital marine ecosystem and ensure continued economic prosperity and a thriving ocean for future generations.”

According to FFA, partners are seeing increasing success through multilateral operations in the Pacific to tackle IUUF. These operations evolved from a focus on protecting against illegal boats entering the fisheries to policing the operations of licensed vessels that haven’t followed the rules and regulations governing their activities. The Pacific region is a vast expanse, and collaboration across the many partners, providing personnel and assets, is crucial to ongoing success.

The Oliver Henry is the 40th Sentinel-class fast response cutter. The ship arrived in Guam and was commissioned along with its sister ships, Myrtle Hazard and Frederick Hatch, in July 2021. In the time since, the crew has participated in several search and rescues cases, completed a counternarcotics patrol off Guam with the Japan Coast Guard patrol vessel Mizuho, and conducted sovereignty and fisheries patrols in the Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam area of responsibility.

For more U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam news, visit us on DVIDS or subscribe! You can also visit us on Facebook at @USCGSectorGuam.

-USCG-

Late Addition:The Sentinel-class fast response cutter USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) crew arrives in Port Moresby for a port visit on Aug. 23, 2022, following a patrol in parts of the Coral Sea, and the Solomon Islands and PNG Exclusive Economic Zones. The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting a routine deployment in Oceania as part of Operation Blue Pacific, working alongside Allies, building maritime domain awareness, and sharing best practices with partner nation navies and coast guards. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by USCGC Oliver Henry)

“Coast Guard exercises contract option to build one fast response cutter” –CG-9

CGC BENJAMIN DAILEY, the first FRC stationed in Gulf of Mexico, conducts flight operations with a HH-65 from Air Station New Orleans. Photo by Bigshipdriver

The Acquistions Directorate (CG-9) reports exercise of a contract option to purchace one additional Webber class cutter. I had been under the impression money was in the FY2022 budget for two more.

On December 10, 2021, USCGC Benjamin Dailey (WPC-1123) was heavily damaged during a fire while in drydock in Tampa, FL. I have not heard if she had been repaired. This might be a replacement. Readers’ updates would be appreciated.

I think we still need additional cutters if we are going to open a base in American Samoa. 


Coast Guard exercises contract option to build one fast response cutter

The Coast Guard exercised a contract option Aug. 9 for production of one Sentinel-class fast response cutter (FRC) and associated deliverables valued at $55.5 million with Bollinger Shipyards of Lockport, Louisiana.

This option brings the total number of FRCs under contract with Bollinger to 65 and the total value of the Phase 2 contract to approximately $1.8 billion. The FRC built under this option will be delivered in 2025.

To date, 50 FRCs have been delivered, with 48 FRCs in operational service, operating out of 13 homeports.

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

For more information: Fast Response Cutter Program page

What Ever Happened to the “Six Bitters?”

Port side view of USS Cumberland as a receiving ship, US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, 1938 with former USCG 75 foot patrol boats in the foreground.

Just a small footnote in Coast Guard histroy I stumbled across. Apparently, 51 Coast Guard prohibition era 75 foot “six bitter” patrol boats were sold to the Navy in 1933/34 and at least a few of them ended up at the Naval Academy as training ships for midshipmen.

The link above “U.S.C.G. Patrol Craft Built before WWII (Six-Bitters, WPC, WSC)” “…lists the 317 patrol craft built or acquired by the U.S. Coast Guard from its organization in 1915 through the start of WWII.” I have added the link to my Heritage page.