Cutter Tahoma returns to homeport

KITTERY, Maine- Coast Guard Cutter Tahoma is scheduled to return to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, following a 60-day Caribbean patrol, Tuesday, Sept. 29.

Under a new command and with dozens of new shipmates, the Tahoma and its crew successfully orchestrated a variety of tasks and missions including helicopter and boat operations and an inspection.

Commanding Officer, Cmdr. James Spotts and Executive Officer, Lt. Cmdr. Michael Fisher led the crew through dozens of training evolutions throughout the patrol in order to ensure that Tahoma’s crew was mission ready.

Tahoma personnel logged hundreds of hours in the cutter’s two small boats conducting cooperative law enforcement and boat operations with the Haitian coast guard and several other U.S. Coast Guard assets. As a result of the operations, the Haitian coast guard is reestablishing a presence outside of its main operating territory of Cap Haitian, working towards the goal of expanding its presence on both the north and south coast of Haiti, over the next four to five years.

In keeping with the Coast Guard’s global efforts, Tahoma acted as a holding platform and transport for multiple sets of illegal immigrants who were all safely repatriated to their native countries.

Within days of setting sail from their homeport, the Tahoma crew responded to a search and rescue case, towing the motor vessel, Whitewater II, after the 63-foot fishing vessel lost all propulsion off the coast of New Jersey’s southern shores. The crew took the 70-gross ton vessel in tow for over 24-hours before transferring the vessel to a second Coast Guard cutter who returned the four person crew to safety without further incident.

Working with various Coast Guard air stations, the Tahoma participated in hundreds of helicopter operations involving day and night take-off and landing, refueling and medical evacuation evolutions with the HH-60 Jayhawk and HH-65 Dolphin aircrafts. In conjunction with training and readiness, the crew aggressively prepared for and executed a normally three day helicopter standardization inspection, which evaluates all aspects of shipboard-helicopter operations, in less than two days. As a result of their performance, knowledge and expertise, the cutter passed the inspection and received praise from the evaluators for the maintenance of equipment and adherence to protocol and procedures.

In addition, crew members stood thousands of hours of watch, responded to two shipboard emergencies and made repairs to both, ship service diesel generators and both, main diesel engines.

Tahoma is a 270-foot cutter home ported in Kittery, Maine and is currently underway with primary missions including maritime law enforcement, illegal immigrant operations and drug interdiction.

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