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Coast Guard cutters depart on historic journey to new homeport


Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton leads the way for cutters Robert Goldman and Charles Moulthrope as they depart Puerto Rico April 1. National security cutter Hamilton is escorting the two fast response cutters (FRCs) across the Atlantic to Rota, Spain. From there, the FRCs will continue to their homeport of Manama, Bahrain. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Sydney Phoenix.

Coast Guard fast response cutters (FRCs) Charles Moulthrope and Robert Goldman departed San Juan, Puerto Rico, April 1, headed for their homeport of Manama, Bahrain. They are the first two of six FRCs to be assigned to Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA). They are being accompanied on the historic journey across the Atlantic Ocean by national security cutter (NSC) Hamilton. The three cutters will journey together to Rota, Spain, then Hamilton will depart for a separate patrol alongside NATO allies and partners while the FRCs continue to their homeport.

“The U.S. Coast Guard is a member of the Joint Force, a key and always-ready instrument to further national security objectives globally,” said Vice Adm. Steven Poulin, commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area. “It’s been almost two decades since we sent the Island-class patrol boats to Bahrain. As we seek to modernize our asset support to the U.S. Navy in the Arabian Gulf, this is an excellent opportunity to advance partnerships and learn from our allies in the region.”

PATFORSWA is the Coast Guard's largest unit outside of the United States. Established in 2002 to support Operation Iraqi Freedom, PATFORSWA plays a critical role in maritime security and maritime infrastructure protection operations. Its mission is to train, organize, equip, support and deploy combat-ready Coast Guard forces in support of U.S. Central Command and national security objectives.

The Sentinel-class FRCs feature advanced command, control, communications, computers, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C5ISR) equipment; over-the-horizon cutter boat deployment to reach vessels of interest; and improved habitability and seakeeping. The cutters are designed for multiple missions, including search and rescue; national defense; ports, waterways and coastal security; drug and migrant interdiction; and fisheries patrols.

The Legend-class NSCs feature advanced C5ISR equipment, aviation support facilities, stern cutter boat launch and long-endurance station keeping. The 418-foot cutters have an endurance of 60 to 90 days and can serve as operational-level headquarters for complex law-enforcement, defense and national security missions involving the Coast Guard and multiple partner agencies. They are replacing the 1960s-era 378-foot high-endurance cutters.

Vice Adm. Steven Poulin, commander, Coast Guard Atlantic Area, addresses the crew of fast response cutter Charles Moulthrope prior to its historic journey to its homeport in Manama, Bahrain, as part of Patrol Forces Southwest Asia. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

For more information: Fast Response Cutter Program page and National Security Cutter Program page