Coast Guard commissions fast response cutter Joseph Doyle

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The following is text of a news release from the U.S. Coast Guard:

(SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico) — The Coast Guard cutter Joseph Doyle (WPC 1133) was commissioned into service Saturday during a ceremony at U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Joseph Doyle is the 33rd fast response cutter (FRC) to be commissioned in the Coast Guard and the seventh to be assigned to Sector San Juan and home-ported in Puerto Rico.

"Today we make history as we welcome the USCGC Joseph Doyle and Puerto Rico is now the sector in the Coast Guard with the largest number of fast response cutters," said Jenniffer-Gonzalez-Colon. "I’m honored to be the ship’s sponsor of this beautiful cutter and that it is also commanded by a woman. This is part of the work we do in collaboration with the Coast Guard, and other agencies, so Puerto Rico can have the necessary resources to guarantee the safety of our coasts and combat illegal drug trafficking."

"Each fast response cutter represents an extraordinary resource which increases our search and rescue and other multi-mission capabilities in our area of responsibility," said Capt. Eric King, commander of Coast Guard Sector San Juan. "The Joseph Doyle will contribute to strengthening the coastal security of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as the nation’s most southern maritime border."

"It is an absolute honor to be the commanding officer of the Coast Guard's 33rd fast response cutter, but more importantly the seventh fast response cutter in Puerto Rico," said Lt. Catherine Gillen. "My crew and I look forward to serving the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and keeping these beautiful islands safe."

The Sentinel-class FRCs are designed to conduct maritime drug interdiction, alien migrant interdiction, search and rescue, national defense, homeland security, living marine resource protection and other Coast Guard missions. This class of patrol boat is capable of deploying independently to execute Coast Guard missions and prevent potential threats from approaching that nation’s shores and offers vastly improved capabilities over the aging 110-foot Island-class patrol boats it replaces. 

The FRC is part of the Coast Guard’s layered approach to maritime security that includes the national security cutter and the offshore patrol cutter. The FRCs are 154 feet long with a beam of 25 feet and they can transit at a maximum sustained speed of 28 knots. They are armed with a stabilized 25-mm machine-gun mount and four .50-caliber machine guns.

Each FRC is named for a Coast Guard hero who distinguished him or herself in the line of duty. The namesake of the latest commissioned cutter is Coast Guard hero Capt. Joseph O. Doyle. Doyle was born in 1836. On July 11, 1878, he was appointed keeper of the Charlotte, New York Life Saving Station. During 1878, he achieved two impressive rescues. The first was the wreck of the schooner B.P. Dorr of Chicago, which was discovered Sept. 11, 1878. At 9:30 p.m. the ship stranded about one mile west of Doyle’s station. The vessel was visible by the flare of a strong torch on board despite the rain. With the six men and the women on board, the vessel safely and swiftly was returned to the beach under the steady oar of the keeper. The second rescue in which Doyle showed his great skill and bravery involved the wreck of the schooner Star of Millpoint, Ontario, on Oct. 23, 1878.

Doyle was awarded the Gold Life Saving Medal for his heroic actions in the conduct of both rescues.

By Professional Mariner Staff