Coast Guard’s oldest cutter arrives in Juneau – open for tours

JUNEAU, Alaska – The Coast Guard Cutter Acushnet, the services oldest cutter in the fleet and its crew are scheduled to arrived in Juneau around 10 a.m. Friday for a port visit this weekend before returning to their homeport of Ketchikan.

The crew of the Acushnet spent more than 40 days patrolling the Aleutian Island Chain, the Bering Sea, the Gulf of Alaska and recently the waters of Southeast Alaska. The crew conducted 43 boardings of commercial vessels and assisted fishermen on the vessel Butterfly as it was taking on water south of Kodiak.

The Acushnet was crowned “Queen of the Fleet” after the decommissioning ceremony of the Coast Guard Cutter Storis on Feb. 8, 2007. The title “Queen of the Fleet” is a distinction given to the oldest commissioned cutter in the fleet.

Acushnet was originally commissioned as a Diver Class Fleet Rescue and Salvage Vessel, USS SHACKLE (ARS 9) for the U.S. Navy Feb. 5, 1944. On August 23, 1946, Acushnet was commissioned as an Auxiliary Tug (WAT) in the Coast Guard. That same year, two other U.S. Navy Diver Class vessels; the Escape (ex-ARS 6) and Yocona (ex-SEIZE ARS 26) also joined the Coast Guard fleet as Auxiliary Tugs (WAT).

During the course of 66 years of service, Acushnet crews have received the following awards for exemplary service: World War II Victory Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, American Campaign Medal, 2 Coast Guard Unit Commendations, 5 Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendations, 7 Coast Guard “E” Ribbons, Navy Occupation Service Medal, 3 National Defense Service Medals, 2 Humanitarian Service Medals, and 2 Coast Guard Special Operation Ribbons.

As of Feb. 5, 2010, the Acushnet is 66 years old.

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