Bollinger Delivers the Joseph Gerczak to the Coast Guard
LOCKPORT, La. — Bollinger Shipyards has delivered the USCGC Joseph Gerczak, the 26th Fast Response Cutter (FRC) to the U.S. Coast Guard, the company said Nov. 10. The Coast Guard took delivery on Nov. 9 in Key West, Fla. The vessel’s commissioning is scheduled for March 9 in Honolulu.
“We are excited to announce the delivery of the latest FRC, the USCGC Joseph Gerczak,” said Ben Bordelon, Bollinger president and chief executive officer. “This FRC built by Bollinger Shipyards will be the second FRC to be stationed in Honolulu. Previous cutters have been stationed in Florida, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Cape May, N.J., Ketchikan, Alaska, and Pascagoula, Miss. FRCs already in commission have seized multiple tons of narcotics, interdicted thousands of illegal aliens and saved many lives.
“The FRC program is a model program for government acquisition and has surpassed all historical quality benchmarks for vessels of this type and complexity. The results are the delivery of truly extraordinary Coast Guard cutters that will serve our Nation for decades to come. We are extremely proud that the Fast Response Cutters built by Louisiana craftsmen here at Bollinger Shipyards are having such a major impact on our country’s safety and security.”
The 154-foot Joseph Gerzack is the 26th vessel in the Coast Guard’s Sentinel-class FRC program. The FRC has been described as an operational “game changer,” by senior Coast Guard officials. To build the FRC, Bollinger used a proven, in-service parent craft design based on the Damen Stan Patrol Boat 4708. It has a flank speed of 28 knots, state of the art command, control, communications and computer technology, and a stern launch system for the vessel’s 26-foot cutter boat.
Each FRC is named for an enlisted Coast Guard hero who distinguished him or herself in the line of duty. Gerczak, a signalman third class, was on board the USS LST-66 during the initial assault against the Japanese-held Borgen Bay Area of New Britain on Dec. 26, 1943. As Japanese dive bombers attacked his ship, Gerczak manned his battle station with expert marksmanship and unwavering perseverance. In recognition for having gallantly given his life for his country, Joseph Gerczak was posthumously awarded the Silver Star. He also posthumously received the Purple Heart and Presidential Unit Commendation that was awarded to LST-66 for meritorious service in action against the Japanese.