Coast Guard Accepts 24th Fast Response Cutter Oliver Berry
KEY WEST, Fla. — The Coast Guard accepted the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124), the 24th fast-response cutter (FRC) built by Bollinger Shipyards, on June 27 in a ceremony at Coast Guard Sector Key West, the service said in a June 29 release.
The cutter, which is 154-feet long and has a crew complement of 24, will be homeported in Honolulu.
Oliver Berry is tentatively scheduled for commissioning in October in Honolulu. It will be the first FRC to be stationed in the Coast Guard’s 14th Coast Guard District, which covers the state of Hawaii, the U.S. territories of Guam and American Samoa, various Pacific Island nations and parts of Asia.
The cutter’s namesake, Oliver Berry, is the first enlisted helicopter mechanic in naval aviation history and was an instrumental part in pioneering the use of the helicopter for search and rescue after World War II. In September 1946, he successfully disassembled a helicopter in Brooklyn, N.Y., organized transportation from New York to Newfoundland, Canada, and reassembled the helicopter for use to rescue 18 stranded passengers of a Belgian airliner that crashed near Gander, Newfoundland. He subsequently received the Silver Medal of the Order of Leopold II from the Belgian monarchy for his efforts.
The FRC is replacing the aging Island-class 110-foot patrol boats, and features advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment, as well as an over-the-horizon cutter boat. The cutter features advanced seakeeping capabilities, and can achieve speeds of more than 32 mph (28 knots). The cutter has an endurance of five days. The Coast Guard is in the middle of the FRC acquisition program, with plans to procure a total of 58 vessels.