July 25, 2018 —
The Coast Guard commissioned the 28th fast response cutter (FRC), Nathan Bruckenthal, in Alexandria, Virginia today.
The cutter is the second FRC stationed in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, in the Coast Guard’s Fifth District. From South Carolina to New Jersey, the ship’s patrol area will encompass 156,000 square miles of ocean, including several major mid-Atlantic ports and our Nation’s capital.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan Bruckenthal, the cutter’s namesake, was killed along with two U.S. Navy sailors in the line of duty while conducting maritime intercept operations in the North Arabian Gulf. When he and six other sailors attempted to board and investigate a small boat near the Iraqi Khawr Al Amaya Oil Terminal, a suicide bomber detonated explosives. Because of Bruckenthal and the boarding team’s actions, nearby security forces were alerted to a larger coordinated attack and were able to avert further loss of life and environmental and economic damage. Bruckenthal, the first Coast Guard member killed in action since the Vietnam War, was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V,” Purple Heart and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
The Sentinel-class 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 ships can reach a top speed of at least 28 knots and have an endurance of five days. The FRCs are designed for multiple missions, including search and rescue; national defense; ports, waterways and coastal security; drug and migrant interdiction; and fisheries patrols.
The Coast Guard is acquiring 58 FRCs to replace its 110-foot Island-class patrol boats; 44 have been ordered. Twenty-eight are in service: 12 in Florida, six in Puerto Rico, two in Alaska, two in New Jersey, two in Mississippi, two in Hawaii and two in North Carolina. Galveston, Texas is a future FRC homeport.
For more information: Fast Response Cutter program page