Coast Guard commissions 2nd Fast Response Cutter at Port Everglades

Southeastern Coast Guard NewsMIAMI — The Coast Guard commissioned its second Sentinel Class cutter during a traditional ceremony at the Port Everglades Friday.

The 154-foot Coast Guard Cutter Richard Etheridge is a Fast Response Cutter and will be able to deploy independently to conduct missions such as ports, waterways, and coastal security, fishery patrols, drug and illegal migrant law enforcement, search and rescue, and national defense operations along the Gulf of Mexico and throughout the Caribbean.

“I am very excited about the commissioning of the Coast Guard Cutter Etheridge,” said Rear Adm. Bill Baumgartner, commander of the 7th Coast Guard District. “It is the second of 18 Fast Response Cutters that are scheduled to be delivered to the 7th Coast Guard District over the next several years. This new cutter fleet will be a vital instrument in supporting illicit migrant and narcotic trafficking interdiction, but will only fill a portion of the critical gap we face in our operational capability. While the Fast Response Cutters are highly capable platforms, the Coast Guard is in need of an Offshore Patrol Cutter as well. These OPCs would be able to deploy greater distances, effectively extending our maritime border outward to prevent threats to our national security. The OPC would replace our aging Medium Endurance Cutter fleet, most of which are over 40 years old and in desperate need of recapitalization to meet the future security needs of America.”

The Etheridge is capable of speeds of 28-plus knots, armed with one stabilized, remotely operated 25mm chain gun and four crew-served .50 caliber machine guns, and crew capabilities to hold 24 people. It will be able to perform independently for a minimum of five days at sea, and be underway for 2,500 hours per year.

The new Sentinel Class patrol boats will all be named after Coast Guard heroes. The Etheridge is named after Coast Guard hero Richard Etheridge, the first African-American to command a life-saving station. Etheridge led the Pea Island Lifesaving Station crew of six in a daring rescue operation that saved the entire crew of the schooner E.S. Newman, which had become grounded in a treacherous storm in 1896.

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