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Hawai‘i Receives Second Sentinel-Class Coast Guard Cutter

February 5, 2018, 9:30 AM HST
* Updated February 4, 6:02 PM
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A new Coast Guard boat will soon be operating in the Hawaiian Islands. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126) arrived in Honolulu on Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, becoming the second of three 154-foot fast response cutters stationed in Hawai‘i.

Leighton Tseu, kane o ke kai, prepares to give a Hawaiian blessing to the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126) as the crew arrive to their new homeport of Honolulu Feb. 4, 2018, following a 42-day transit from Key West, Florida, where the cutter was delivered. The Gerczak is the second of three 154-foot Fast Response cutters to arrive to Hawaii. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Sara Muir/Released)

The cutters are designed to patrol coastal regions and feature advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance equipment, including the ability to launch and recover standardized small boats from the stern. The Joseph Gerczak is the second of three Honolulu-based Fast Response Cutters (FRCs) that will primarily serve the main Hawaiian Islands.

Joseph Gerczak, the cutter’s namesake, was killed while defending USS LST-66 from Japanese bombers during an American assault on Borgen Bay in New Britain on Sunday, Dec. 26, 1943. Gerczak was the first to react when the enemy bombing began and shot down two of the attackers before he was fatally wounded by shrapnel from an explosion. By his expert marksmanship, unwavering perseverance, and cool courage in the face of tremendous odds, he contributed to the success of this and previous assault and reinforcement landings during the New Guinea Campaign. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star as well as a presidential unit commendation awarded to the crew of LST-66 for their actions in the battle.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak (WPC 1126) arrive to their new homeport of Honolulu Feb. 4, 2018, following a 42-day transit from Key West, Florida, where the cutter was delivered. The Gerczak is the second of three 154-foot Fast Response cutters to arrive to Hawaii. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer Sara Muir/Released)

The Coast Guard is acquiring 58 FRCs to replace the 110-foot Island-class patrol boats. The FRCs are designed for missions including search and rescue; fisheries enforcement; drug and migrant interdiction; ports, waterways and coastal security; and national defense. The Coast Guard took delivery of Joseph Gerczak on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in Key West, Florida. The crew then transited more than 8,400 miles to Hawai‘i.

There will be three FCRs stationed at Coast Guard Base Honolulu by the spring of 2019. These cutters, with their improved effectiveness in search and rescue, will make the waters around the main Hawaiian Islands a safer place for recreational boaters and users of the waterway. They improve on-water presence with each providing over 7,500 operational hours, a 40% increase over the 110-foot patrol boats.

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A commissioning ceremony is scheduled for Friday, March 9, 2018.

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