Coast Guard’s “White Shark” earns readiness award

SEATTLE – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast earned the Coast Guard Battle “E” award for combat readiness while training in San Diego this summer.

The crew of the vessel attended annual training designed to assess the effectiveness of shipboard training teams, as well as the their ability to safely operate the ship in a myriad of training exercises. These exercises involved grading the crew and command on their teamwork and proficiency in firefighting, damage control, seamanship, first aid, weapons and machinery casualty control.

To prepare for this extensive evolution, the crew spent countless long hours conducting their own drills, studying manuals, and repairing parts in a pre-training evolution known as the Command Assessment of Readiness and Training (CART). This assessment enables the crew to ensure that the cutter is ready to perform in the rigorous training procedures required during final evaluation. This evaluation is known as Tailored Annual Cutter Training (TACT) and can be very strenuous, with weeks of daily drills both at the pier and at sea. Expert instructors assess and critique every exercise conducted. Some of these include successfully completing a precision anchorage, man overboard drills, refueling, and responding to fires and flooding and steering and engine casualties.

The Steadfast is a Reliance Class cutter, one of 14 in the Coast Guard fleet and one of only three based on the West Coast. the vessel was commissioned in 1968 and has been homeported in Astoria since January 1994. The cutter earned the nickname “El Tiburon Blanco,” or “White Shark” from drug smugglers while based in St. Petersburg, Fla., for its notoriously effective law enforcement operations in the Caribbean. The Steadfast was the first cutter to be awarded the gold marijuana leaf, indicating one million pounds of marijuana seized.

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