Coast Guard to commission Key West’s first Fast Response Cutter

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Key West – The Coast Guard Cutter Charles W. David, Jr. is scheduled to be commissioned at Coast Guard Sector Key West, Saturday at sunset.

Attendees to the commissioning of the Fast Response Cutter include Vice Adm. Robert Parker, Coast Guard Atlantic area commander; Rear Adm. Jake Korn, Coast Guard Seventh District commander; Capt. Aylwyn Young, Coast Guard Sector Key West commander; Lt. Kevin Beaudoin, Coast Guard Cutter Charles W. David, Jr., commanding officer; and Chris Bollinger, President of Bollinger Shipyards. Also in attendance the cutter’s sponsor Sarah David, granddaughter of Charles David, Jr., and 91 year-old SK2 Richard Swanson, fellow rescuer and crewmember of the Coast Guard Cutter Comanche who will present the traditional ceremonial long glass.

Charles David Underway

Charles David Underway

The Sentinel Class FRCs are designed to conduct maritime drug interdiction, alien migrant interdiction, search and rescue, national defense, homeland security, living marine resources and other Coast Guard missions. This class of patrol boat is capable of deploying independently to execute Coast Guard missions and prevent potential threats from approaching our shores and offers vastly improved capabilities over the aging 110-foot Island class patrol boats it replaces. The FRC is part of the Coast Guard’s layered approach to maritime security that includes the National Security Cutter and the Offshore Patrol Cutter.

Coast Guard Cutter Charles W. David, Jr., homeported in Key West, is 154-feet long, has a beam of 25-feet, and a maximum sustained speed of more than 28 knots. The Charles David is armed with a stabilized 25mm machine-gun mount and four crew-served .50-caliber machine guns.

The cutter’s namesake is Steward’s Mate First Class Charles W. David, Jr. David enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1941 and was assigned to the Coast Guard Cutter Comanche. The night of Feb. 3, 1943, the Comanche was on convoy duty in the North Atlantic Ocean when it was called to the aid of the U.S. Army transport USAT Dorchester, which had been torpedoed by an enemy submarine and was quickly sinking.

Charles W. David

Charles W. David, Jr.

Upon reaching the scene, David was among several crewmembers that volunteered to enter the frigid ocean to save the soldiers and crew of the Dorchester. Using a recently devised “rescue retriever” technique, where a rescuer ties a line to a person so he can be hoisted from the water to a waiting ship, David and other volunteers from the Comanche and Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba ultimately rescued 230 men. One volunteer, Ensign Robert Anderson, was rescued by David after Anderson was overcome by the cold, heavy seas. David succumbed to pneumonia three days later, leaving behind a widow and a young son. David was posthumously awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for his actions.For more information, please visit

The Key West Navy League Commissioning Committee is supporting the commissioning through funding of activities traditionally associated with a commissioning, separate and apart from the U.S. Coast Guard.

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