SAN FRANCISCO — The Coast Guard commissioned a new, California-based 154-foot fast response cutter (FRC), named the Robert Ward, in San Francisco on March 2.
The Robert Ward is the second of four Sentinel-Class FRCs to be homeported at Coast Guard Base Los Angeles-Long Beach. While the FRCs will be based in Southern California, they will operate throughout the 11th Coast Guard District, which includes all of California and international waters off Mexico and Central America.
“This cutter is specifically designed to face today’s threats in the maritime domain,” said Rear Adm. Peter Gautier, commander of the 11th Coast Guard District. “This cutter is faster, goes further and can do more than any other Coast Guard patrol boat.”
FRCs are 154-foot multimission ships designed to conduct drug and migrant interdictions, ports, waterways and coastal security operations, fisheries and environmental protection patrols, national defense missions and search and rescue.
“The crew and I are truly honored to serve aboard such a capable platform, and we look forward to continuing the Coast Guard’s vital missions throughout California and the Pacific,” said Lt. Benjamin Davne, Robert Ward’s commanding officer.
To date, the Coast Guard has accepted delivery of 31 FRCs. Each ship is designed for a crew of 24, has a range of 2,500 miles and is equipped for patrols up to five days. The FRCs are part of the Coast Guard’s overall fleet modernization initiative.
FRCs feature advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment as well as over-the-horizon response boat deployment capability and improved habitability for the crew.
The ships can reach speeds of 28 knots and are equipped to coordinate operations with partner agencies and long-range Coast Guard assets such as the Coast Guard’s national security cutters.
FRCs are named in honor of Coast Guard enlisted leaders, trailblazers and heroes. Robert Ward operated beach-landing boats during the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II. He landed his craft on the Cotentin Peninsula and rescued two stranded boat crews in the face of a heavily fortified enemy assault.