Coast Guard Cutter Liberty to celebrate 20th anniversary in Southeast Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska – The Coast Guard Cutter Liberty was commissioned on Dec. 18, 1989 in Juneau and today marks its 20th year of Coast Guard service in Southeast Alaska.

The Liberty, homeported in Auke Bay, is the 34th of the Coast Guard’s 49 110-foot patrol boats. Name after Liberty Island in New York Harbor. It replaced the 95-foot Coast Guard Cutter Cape Carter in Auke Bay.

Noteworthy accomplishments throughout the 20 year service include the record for the largest hash oil bust in Alaska state history from the fishing vessel 819 in October 2007 completed in conjunction with the Alaska State Troopers. For the last twelve years the Liberty and local community business have held the Blanket, Coat and Toy Drive supporting several remote communities throughout Southeast Alaska.

In addition to community service and law enforcement the Liberty responded to more than 24 search and rescue cases in 2008 and 2009. Notably, Liberty was integral in the safety of 327 passengers during the grounding of both the 178-foot cruise ship Spirit of Glacier Bay in Tarr Inlet in July 2008 and the 229-foot cruise ship Empress of the North in Icy Strait in May 2007.

“We are humbled by the opportunity to celebrate twenty years of service to the communities of Southeast Alaska,” said Lieutenant Brian Tesson, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Liberty. “On behalf of past and present crews who have served aboard Liberty, we would like to extend our gratitude to the citizens of Auke Bay and the surrounding communities who support us, our families, and all other Juneau area Coast Guard units. We are here to serve and we are proud to serve you.”

Liberty and its two officers and sixteen enlisted crew conduct law enforcement, search and rescue and homeland security missions throughout Southeast Alaska. However, they are multi-mission capable and can perform other missions which include Marine Environmental Protection, Aids to Navigation and Boating Safety.

The Liberty will be celebrating its 20th anniversary with an open house for the public from 3 p.m to 7 p.m. January 7th, 2010. Tours of the ship will be available during this time. A brief presentation will take place at Station Juneau at 3 p.m. to commence the celebration. The media is invited to attend.

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