Jan. 31, 2019 —
The Coast Guard accepted delivery of the 32nd fast response cutter (FRC), Benjamin Bottoms, in Key West, Florida, Jan. 8.
It will be the fourth FRC stationed in San Pedro, California, and will be commissioned in May.
The cutter’s namesake, Benjamin Bottoms, was a radioman 1st class, assigned in early 1942 to a Grumman J2F-4 aircraft that carried out a Greenland patrol. Bottoms and the pilot on Nov. 28 took part in a daring rescue of two victims of a B-17 crash on Greenland’s west coast. Bottoms and the pilot of the J2F-4 planned to return the next day for other survivors, but while en route on Nov. 29, their aircraft crashed. Bottoms’ and the pilot’s bodies were never found; Bottoms was declared deceased a year later. For his efforts in the rescue, he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.
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 at least 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 has ordered 50 FRCs to date. Twenty-nine are in service: 12 in Florida, six in Puerto Rico, one in California and two each in Alaska, New Jersey, Mississippi, Hawaii and North Carolina. Future FRC homeports include Galveston, Texas; Santa Rita, Guam; Astoria, Oregon; and Kodiak, Seward and Sitka, Alaska.
For more information: Fast Response Cutter program page