The U.S. Coast Guard commissioned the 41st Sentinel-class fast response cutter (FRC), USCGC Charles Moulthrope (WPC-1141), during a ceremony at Coast Guard Base Portsmouth in Portsmouth, Virginia, on Jan. 21.
Adm. Karl Shultz, commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, presided over the commissioning ceremony. In line with current social distancing requirements, the in-person ceremony was limited to the official party and VIPs.
USCGC Charles Moulthrope is the first of six FRCs to be assigned to Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA) and stationed in Manama, Bahrain replacing the aging 110’ Island-class patrol boats. The cutter’s sponsor is Mrs. Dawn Schultz, spouse of Adm. Karl Schultz.
The mission of PATFORSWA, the Coast Guard’s largest unit outside of the U.S., is to train, organize, equip, support and deploy combat-ready Coast Guard forces in support of U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) and national security objectives. PATFORSWA works with Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) to conduct maritime operations to forward U.S. interests, deter, and counter disruptive countries, defeat violent extremism, and strengthen partner nations’ maritime capabilities to secure the maritime environment in the CENTCOM area of responsibility (AOR).
The Coast Guard took delivery of Charles Moulthrope on Oct. 22, 2020, in Key West. The vessel will transit to Bahrain later this year with their sister ship, the Robert Goldman (WPC 1142), delivered on Dec. 22, 2020, and due to be commissioned in Key West prior to departure.
USCGC Charles Moulthrope is named after Seaman Charles Moulthrope, remembered for heroic and selfless service as a member of the Revenue Cutter Service cutter Commodore Perry, en route to patrol Alaska, when he rescued multiple shipmates who ended up in the sea. They had attempted to rescue another crewman who was swept overboard during heavy seas. Moulthrope “grabbed a line and leaped over the side” into the freezing water to save the four men. Not long after, he lost his life in the performance of duties in Unalaska, Alaska, in 1896, when he fell from a mast while trying to free a fouled pennant. This ship will be the first modern Coast Guard cutter named for an enlisted man of the Revenue Cutter Service, bringing recognition to the service and sacrifice of hundreds of sailors who served their country aboard the ships of this precursor of the Coast Guard.
USCG Fast Response Cutter (FRC)
The Fast Response Cutters (FRCs) are replacing the U.S. Coast Guard (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, also called as Sentinel-class cutters, 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 (CB-OTH) 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.
The Coast Guard has ordered 60 FRCs to date including the four ordered in September, 2020. With the commissioning of Charles Moulthrope, 39 FRCs are in service: 12 in Florida; seven in Puerto Rico; four in California; three each in Hawaii, Texas and New Jersey; and two each in Alaska, Mississippi and North Carolina.
Two additional FRCs have been delivered and arrived in their homeport of Apra Harbor, Guam, in 2020, with one more to come. The two delivered FRCs will be commissioned later this year. Future FRC homeports include Astoria, Oregon; and Kodiak, Seward and Sitka, Alaska.