Coast Guard to commission Key West’s second fast response cutter

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Miami – The Coast Guard will hold a commissioning ceremony for the Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton at Coast Guard Sector Key West, Saturday at 11 a.m.

The Sentinel Class FRCs are designed to conduct maritime drug interdiction, alien migrant interdiction, search and rescue, national defense, homeland security, living marine resources 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 and 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 Offshore Patrol Cutter.

Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton is homeported in Key West and is 154-feet long, has a beam of 25-feet, and a maximum sustained speed of more than 28 knots. The Charles Sexton is armed with a stabilized 25mm machine-gun mount and four crew-served .50-caliber machine guns.

The cutter’s namesake is Machinery Technician First Class Charles Sexton who gave his life during a rescue operation conducted off the coast of Washington near the Columbia River bar, an area of large standing waves and often treacherous conditions. On January 11, 1991, Sexton was a crew member aboard a motor lifeboat dispatched to assist the 75-foot fishing vessel Sea King, which was quickly taking on water in the vicinity of the Columbia River bar. Sexton boarded the Sea King and began assisting its four crew members. First, he helped stabilize a crew member that was injured after falling on the deck. Next, using several de-watering pumps, he began removing water from the vessel. Sexton worked for six continuous hours to keep water from overcoming the Sea King and to treat the injuries of a Sea King crewmember.

While being towed to safety, the vessel capsized without warning. Sexton and two of the fisherman were trapped in the interior spaces of the vessel and could not be rescued.

Sexton’s courage was recognized as he was posthumously awarded the Coast Guard Medal for extraordinary heroism.

The Key West Navy League Commissioning Committee is supporting the commissioning through funding of activities traditionally associated with a commissioning, separate and apart from the U.S. Coast Guard.

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