The U.S. Coast Guard Famous-class medium endurance cutter USCGC Tahoma (WMEC-908) returned home Friday to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, ME after a 90-day patrol conducting humanitarian and law enforcement operations in the Caribbean Sea.
During the patrol, the crew conducted alien migrant interdiction operations and counter-drug law enforcement patrols in the Windward Pass, Mona Pass, and Leeward Islands. The crew facilitated the safe repatriation of 352 Haitian migrants in collaboration with the Royal Bahamas Defense Force. They also rendered aid to 202 migrants who were rescued off of two overcrowded and unseaworthy vessels.
In addition to law enforcement and humanitarian aid, Tahoma’s crew rendered aid to an American vessel in distress off the southern coast of the Dominican Republic. Adrift at night with a broken sailing mast and an engine unable to carry their passengers safely through the rough weather, the two-person crew of the New Hampshire-based sailing vessel Invictus was safely escorted to shore by Tahoma.
While on port call in San Juan, Puerto Rico, members of Tahoma’s crew also volunteered to assist in ongoing recovery efforts following the devastating aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Crewmembers spent the day at a local boys’ home repairing damage, clearing debris, and playing sports and games with the kids.
Tahoma’s execution of Coast Guard missions in the Caribbean was conducted with the assistance of two helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen, Puerto Rico. Their efforts supported the missions of Coast Guard’s Seventh District and Joint Interagency Task Force-South, a national task force dedicated to stopping illegal trafficking in the Eastern Pacific and Caribbean waters. In total, USCGC Tahoma and her crew sailed more than 14,000 nautical miles in support of the Coast Guard’s Western Hemisphere Strategy.
“The crew of Tahoma and her partners have carried out extremely important operations these past three months, saving lives and deterring illegal activities in the Caribbean,” said Cmdr. Tim Brown, commanding officer of the Tahoma. “The Coast Guard’s missions of law enforcement, search and rescue, and humanitarian aid have all been supported by a dedicated crew who have worked hard to achieve extraordinary results.”
USCGC Tahoma has a crew complement of 100 and is a 270-foot medium endurance cutter based out of Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, ME.
Her keel was laid on June 28, 1983 at Robert Derecktor Shipyard Incorporated, Middletown, Rhode Island. She was delivered August 12, 1987 and commissioned April 6, 1988.
She is the third cutter to bear the name Tahoma, which is the Northwest Pacific Indian word that refers to the Cascade Range mountain peak now known as Mount Rainier. Her nickname, Mighty T, was selected because it was the nickname of her predecessor, Tahoma (WPG-80), during World War II.
Tahoma and other ships in its class will eventually be replaced by the new Offshore Patrol Cutter (OPC, Heritage-class cutter), which will be able to carry out Coast Guard missions with greater endurance and interoperability with military and federal partners.
U.S. Coast Guard 1st District Northeast