Coast Guard’s Queen of the Fleet shifts, Acushnet being decommissioned

Coast Guard Cutter Acushnet USCG File Photo

JUNEAU, Alaska – The 67-year-old Cutter Acushnet, the Coast Guard’s “Queen of the Fleet”, will be decommissioned during a ceremony at Base Support Unit Ketchikan Friday at 2 p.m.

The Acushnet served as a medium-endurance cutter in the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, and Arctic Ocean. Primary missions included search and rescue, homeland security, maritime law enforcement, and environmental protection. The cutter’s motto, “Juvate, Servate, Confirmate,” means “Help, Save, Strengthen.”

The Acushnet was crowned “Queen of the Fleet” after the decommissioning ceremony of the Coast Guard Cutter Storis on Feb. 8, 2007. The title representing the oldest Coast Guard cutter in service will be passed to the Cutter Smilax, a 100-foot inland construction tender commissioned in 1944 and based in Ft. Macon, N.C.

Coast Guard Cutter Smilax

“It has been an honor to serve as the last commanding officer aboard the Acushnet, a ship with an exceptionally long history of service to the United States that began in World War II and extended up to the present day,” said Capt. Mark Frankford, commanding officer of the Acushnet. “Indeed, this cutter’s proud history served as a continuing source of inspiration to my crew and me as we worked to execute our missions to the highest standard to be worthy successors of the hundreds of Coast Guardsmen and Navy Sailors who walked Acushnet’s decks before us.”

The Acushnet was originally commissioned as a Diver Class Fleet Rescue and Salvage Vessel, USS SHACKLE (ARS 9) for the U.S. Navy Feb. 5, 1944.

During the course of the cutter’s service, Acushnet crews have received the following awards for exemplary service: World War II Victory Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, American Campaign Medal, two Coast Guard Unit Commendations, five Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendations, seven Coast Guard “E” Ribbons, Navy Occupation Service Medal, three National Defense Service Medals, two Humanitarian Service Medals, and two Coast Guard Special Operation Ribbons.

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