Coast Guard Commissions New Fast-Response Cutter in San Juan

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle bring’s the cutter to life during the ship’s commissioning ceremony at Coast Guard Sector San Juan on June 8. Coast Guard/Seaman Erik Villa Rodriguez

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle (WPC-1133) was commissioned into service June 8 during a ceremony at U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Coast Guard 7th District said in a release.

The 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 homeported 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 Rep. Jenniffer-González-Colón, who represents Puerto Rico in Congress. “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.”

Members of the armed forces and guests salute during the posting of colors as part of the Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle commissioning ceremony. Coast Guard/Seaman Erik Villa Rodriguez

“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,” Lt. Catherine Gillen said. “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.”

“Each fast response cutter represents an extraordinary resource [that] increases our search-and-rescue and other multimission 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.”

“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.”

Lt. Catherine Gillen, commanding officer of Cutter Joseph Doyle

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. They can deploy independently to execute Coast Guard missions and prevent potential threats from approaching the nation’s shores and offers improved capabilities over the aging 110-foot Island-class patrol boats it replaces.

Lt. Catherine Gillen, commanding officer of the Doyle, addresses the audience and her crew during the cutter’s commissioning ceremony June 8. Coast Guard/Seaman Erik Villa Rodriguez

The FRC is part of the Coast Guard’s layered approach to maritime security that also includes the national security cutter and the offshore patrol cutter. FRCs are 154 feet long with a beam of 25 feet, and they can reach a maximum sustained speed of 28 knots. They are armed with a 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 Cutter Doyle’s namesake is Capt. Joseph O. Doyle. Born in 1836 and keeper of the Charlotte, New York, Life Saving Station starting in 1878, he achieved two impressive rescues that year.

The first rescue was of the wreck of the schooner B.P. Dorr of Chicago, which was discovered on 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 skill and bravery involved the wreck of the schooner Star of Millpoint, Ontario Canada, on Oct. 23, 1878.

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

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