SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – The Coast Guard commissioned into service the latest fast response cutter, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley (WPC-1117), during a ceremony at U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan here Friday morning.
The Donald Horsley is the 17th FRC in the Coast Guard fleet and the fifth to be homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“I am truly honored and excited to welcome the Donald Horsley and to pay homage to its namesake, a service member who we remember today for his heroism, leadership and the positive impact he had on the lives and careers of so many Coastguardsmen,” said Rear Adm. Scott Buschman, commander of the Coast Guard 7th District. “This latest patrol boat will serve throughout the Caribbean as a vital instrument in strengthening the security and stability of the Western Hemisphere and enhancing the Nation’s maritime safety and security.”
“It has been an absolute honor for my shipmates and me to complete the important milestones in bringing USCGC Donald Horsley to life,” said Lt. Colleen Denny, Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley commanding officer. “We are excited to be home ported in San Juan and look forward to serve and protect the people of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Upon commissioning we will be prepared to execute the most challenging maritime security, law enforcement, and national defense missions.”
The FRC’s belong to the Sentinel-class of cutters named after an enlisted Coast Guard hero who distinguished him or herself in the line of duty. This cutter is named after Master Chief Boatswains Mate Donald Robert Horsley, who served on active duty for over 44 years.
Throughout his career, BMCM Horsley demonstrated exceptional skill and leadership while serving aboard 34 vessels and numerous shore units. His lengthy career spanned three wars and it was during World War II, that he served aboard the USS Cepheus (AKA-18) as a coxswain on landing craft and participated in OPERATION DRAGOON (the invasion of southern France) in the European Theater and OPERATION ICEBERG (the invasion of Okinawa) in the Pacific Asian Theater.
During the Vietnam War, BMCM Horsley was the senior petty officer assigned to Division 13, Coast Guard Squadron One, serving two tours for a total of 41 months. The Division of 82-foot patrol boats was tasked with the maritime interdiction of the reinforcement and re-supply vessels for Communist forces fighting in South Vietnam. It was during this assignment that BMCM Horsley earned the Bronze Star with a Combat “V”, in part due to his having participated in over one hundred combat patrols while coming under intensive enemy fire on eleven separate occasions.
The 154-foot long Donald Horsley has a beam of 25 feet and a maximum sustained speed of more than 28 knots. It is armed with a stabilized 25mm machine-gun mount and four crew-served .50-caliber machine guns and is equipped with a highly capable small boat and advanced communications suite.
The FRCs are designed to conduct maritime drug interdiction, alien migrant interdiction, search and rescue, national defense, homeland security, living marine resource protection and other Coast Guard missions. This class of patrol boat is capable of deploying independently to execute Coast Guard missions and prevent potential threats from approaching our shores. It offers vastly improved capabilities over the aging 110-foot Island class patrol boats it replaces. The FRC is part of the Coast Guard’s layered approach to maritime security that includes the National Security Cutter and the future Offshore Patrol Cutter.