The U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) accepted delivery of the 38th fast response cutter (FRC), the future USCGC Harold Miller (WPC-1138), from Bollinger Shipyards during a ceremony in Key West, Florida, on April 2.
The future USCGC Harold Miller will be the third of three FRCs stationed in Galveston, Texas. She is the 161st vessel Bollinger has delivered to the U.S. Coast Guard over a 35 year period.
“We are very proud to announce our latest FRC delivery, especially given the unprecedented times and challenges which we’re facing as a nation,” said Bollinger President & C.E.O. Ben Bordelon. “For this reason, I want to commend the resilience and dedication of the 600-plus men and women who, despite the threat of global pandemic, continued to work safely and efficiently to build and deliver an exceptional, high-performance cutter to strengthen U.S. national security at a time when our nation needs us most.”
Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Harold Miller, the cutter’s namesake, was one of four Coast Guard coxswains who became the first enlisted members of the Coast Guard to receive the Silver Star Medal. The four served with the Marines during the amphibious invasion of Tulagi, Solomon Islands, in August 1942. On Aug. 7, 1942, Miller, along with the other three coxswains, landed the first wave of the Marine Corps’ Raider Battalion on the beaches of Tulagi; in the following three days, they also delivered vitally needed equipment, ammunition and supplies. For their role in the landing of the Marines’ first wave, and capture of Tulagi, the four coxswains were awarded the Silver Star Medal.
The Fast Response Cutters (FRCs), named after Coast Guard enlisted heroes, are replacing the USCG’s 1980s-era 110-foot Island-class patrol boats. The vessels have a length of 154 feet, a beam of 25 feet, a draft 9 feet 6 inches and a displacement of 353 long tons. They have a maximum speed of 28 knots, a range of 2,500 nautical miles and endurance of at least a five-day deployment.
The FRCs are armed with a stabilized 25-mm machine gun mount and four crew-served .50-caliber machine guns, and are equipped with advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) equipment. The cutters feature improved habitability and seakeeping, and over-the-horizon cutter boat launch and recovery from astern or via side davits. The crew complement of the FRC is 24.
The fast response cutters are capable of deploying independently to conduct multiple missions which include drug and migrant interdiction; ports, waterways and coastal security; fishery patrols; search and rescue (SAR); and national defense.
Thirty-six are in service: 12 in Florida; seven in Puerto Rico; four in California; three each in Hawaii and New Jersey; two each in Alaska, Mississippi and North Carolina; and one in Texas. The Coast Guard has ordered 50 of the cutters to date. Future FRC homeports include Santa Rita, Guam; Astoria, Oregon; and Kodiak, Seward and Sitka, Alaska.
The 36th fast response cutter, USCGC Daniel Tarr (WPC-1136), was commissioned during a ceremony at Sector Field Office Galveston, Texas on Jan. 10. The 37th vessel of the class, the future USCGC Edgar Culbertson (WPC-1137), was delivered to the Coast Guard on Feb. 6.