Nov. 9, 2017 —
The Coast Guard accepted delivery of the 26th fast response cutter, Joseph Gerczak, in Key West, Florida, today. It will be the second FRC stationed in Honolulu.
Joseph Gerczak, the cutter’s namesake, was killed while defending USS LST-66 from Japanese bombers during an American assault on Borgen Bay in New Britain on Dec. 26, 1943. Gerczak was the first to react when the enemy bombing began and shot down two of the attackers before he was mortally wounded by shrapnel from an explosion. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star as well as a presidential unit commendation awarded to the crew of LST-66 for their actions in the battle.
The 154-foot FRC is designed to patrol coastal regions and features advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment; the ability to launch and recover standardized cutter boats from astern or via side davits; and improved seakeeping and habitability. The FRCs, which are replacing the 1980s-era 110-foot Island-class patrol boats, feature an endurance of five days and reach a maximum speed of over 28 knots.
The Coast Guard has ordered 44 of the 58 FRCs planned. Twenty-four are in service: 12 in Florida, six in Puerto Rico, two in Alaska, two in New Jersey, one in Mississippi and one in Hawaii. The FRC is complemented operationally by the offshore patrol cutter’s extended range and endurance, and the national security cutter’s offshore capabilities.
For more information: Fast Response Cutter Program page