The U.S. Coast Guard medium endurance cutter USCGC Reliance (WMEC-615) departed Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on July 6.
Following the sheduled patrol, the vessel will return to its new homeport of Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida in August. After 32 years homeported in New Hampshire, Reliance will continue service with two other 210-foot medium endurance cutters homeported at NAS Pensacola, allowing the Coast Guard to better leverage efficiencies gained by clustering vessels of the same class.
USCGC Reliance has shifted homeports several times since its commissioning on June 24, 1964. Reliance has been homeported in Corpus Christi, Texas, Yorktown, Virginia, and Port Canaveral, Florida. More recently, Reliance replaced U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant in New Castle, New Hampshire in 1988, and in 1996, shifted berths to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
During the time in New Hampshire, Reliance has contributed to the Coast Guard’s missions of Search and Rescue, living marine resource protection, and safeguarding New England port and waterways.
In 1989, Reliance acted as the on-scene commander for the Narragansett Bay Oil Spill. Reliance crews coordinated multiple assets and directed the cleanup of over 300,000 gallons of crude oil from the tanker ship, World Prodigy, that ran aground off the coast of Rhode Island.
In 1991, a crew of the Reliance assumed tactical command for the intersection of the fishing vessel, Hunter, which was spotted 100 miles south of Long Island and caught smuggling over five tons of cocaine.
Additionally, a Reliance crew was involved with port security operations during the September 11th terrorist attacks, responded to numerous Search and Rescue cases saving hundreds of lives at sea, and regulated New England’s fisheries to ensure sustainment of fishery stocks.
USCGC Reliance was originally designed with a stern exhaust system, a three inch gun deck capable of manning a 40 mm antisubmarine cannon, a helicopter pad capable of carrying the out of commission HH-52 Seaguard helicopter, and a power plant system that combined diesel and gas (CODAG) combustion.
After undergoing a major maintenance availability in 1987, she was modified to include two pitch controlled main diesel engines capable of reaching a max speed of 18 knots, an exhaust stack that is presented amidships, an armament of one 25 mm automatic machine gun and two .50 caliber machine guns, and a flight deck capable of carrying and deploying an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter.