WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., ranking member and chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, ranking member of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Fisheries, Climate Change, and Manufacturing, along with Sens. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Bill Cassidy, R-La., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., introduced a resolution to commend the service of Hamilton-class Coast Guard Cutters and the crews who served on them.
“Hamilton-class Coast Guard Cutters played an important role in our national security for over half a century,” said Wicker. “These cutters supported missions in the Vietnam War and Operation Iraqi Freedom, in addition to some of the largest search and rescue operations and drug interdictions in U.S. history. I thank the officers and crews of the Hamilton-class cutters for their service, and I congratulate the Coast Guard for continuing to advance the capabilities of its fleet with the National Security Cutter.”
“For nearly five decades, Hamilton-class high-endurance cutters, officers, and crews have served the Coast Guard’s missions including search and rescue, fisheries enforcement, drug interdictions and disaster relief,” said Cantwell. “Just last month, the former cutter Midgett – the final member of the Coast Guard’s endurance fleet to be decommissioned – set off from its homeport of Seattle to its new home as part of the Vietnam Coast Guard fleet. I’m proud to co-sponsor this resolution recognizing the Hamilton-class cutters and I commend the men and women who served on them.”
“Alaskans witnessed the conclusion of an impressive, fifty-year history of the Hamilton-class cutters with the decommissioning of the USCGC Munro at Kodiak in April,” said Sullivan. “These vessels, and the outstanding members of the Coast Guard who operated them, have faithfully defended America’s territorial waters and executed critical missions around the globe for decades. I’m glad to join this resolution recognizing the proud legacy of the Hamilton-class cutters and their crews, a legacy that will endure in the next generation of cutters that we’ve worked so hard to secure in Congress.”
“The Hamilton-class Coast Guard cutters have been an important asset in the Coast Guard fleet and have helped maintain the safety of our territorial waters,” said Gillibrand. “As chair of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, I am proud to commend the men and women of the Coast Guard who served on this fleet and played a substantial role in our nation’s defense for more than fifty years.”
“These ships, mostly built in Avondale, Louisiana, are a symbol of the prestige and power of the United States Coast Guard. The men and women aboard these ships work to keep our waters safe and stop drugs that are headed towards our communities. This resolution honors the service and accomplishments of these vessels and their crew,” said Cassidy.
“With this resolution, we commemorate the service of the Hamilton-class Coast Guard Cutters, their crews, and the shipbuilders for their contribution to our national defense. We also look to the future and the resources required to give our Coast Guard the mightiest capabilities to serve our nation. Additional National Security Cutters and polar icebreakers must be part of that equation,” Hyde-Smith said.
In April 2021, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Munro was decommissioned in Kodiak, Alaska, ending nearly 55 years of service that Hamilton-class cutters have provided the United States. The National Security Cutters, constructed in Mississippi, replaced the Hamilton-class cutters. There are currently nine National Security Cutters in active service, with another two planned for delivery to the Coast Guard.
Read the full text of the resolution here or below:
Whereas the first Hamilton-class cutter was the United States Coast Guard Cutter (referred to in this preamble as ‘‘USCGC’’) Hamilton, which was placed in full com- mission on March 18, 1967;
Whereas USCGC Mellon, USCGC Chase, USCGC Dallas, USCGC Boutwell, USCGC Sherman, USCGC Gallatin, USCGC Morgenthau, USCGC Rush, USCGC Munro, USCGC Midgett, and USCGC Jarvis completed the class of high endurance cutters and were 1 of the most highly versatile and capable vessels at the time of their construction at Avondale Shipyards in Louisiana;
Whereas Hamilton-class cutters courageously supported multiple peacetime and wartime operations during their time in active service, including Operation Market Time, Operation Urgent Fury, Operation Vigilant Sentinel, Operation Deny Flight, and Operation Iraqi Freedom;
Whereas Hamilton-class cutters conducted illegal narcotics interdictions totaling 3,300,000 pounds and $23,600,000,000 in market value, including the interdiction conducted by USCGC Hamilton and USCGC Sherman of the M/V Gatun, which discovered 20 metric tons of illegal narcotics with an estimated street value of $600,000,000 for the largest narcotics interdiction in United States history at the time;
Whereas Hamilton-class cutters have saved thousands of lives during search and rescue operations at sea, including the rescue conducted by USCGC Boutwell and USCGC Mellon of all 520 passengers and crew of the M/S Prinsendam, one of the largest at-sea rescues in Coast Guard history;
Whereas Hamilton-class cutters received excellent shoreside support at Coast Guard homeports in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, South Carolina, and Washington, allowing the cutters to perform admirably past their service life;
Whereas the Mississippi-built National Security Cutter replaced the Hamilton-class cutter to continue the storied success of high endurance Coast Guard cutters at sea;
Whereas USCGC Douglas Munro, formerly known as USCGC Munro, decommissioned on April 24, 2021, ending over 54 years of service of Hamilton-class cutters to the United States;
Whereas Coast Guard cutters remain a vital component of United States capability across the globe in serving to protect life at sea, deterring illicit activity, and ensuring the continuance of the international rules-based order at all levels of the competition continuum;
Whereas the increasing global complexity and expanding demand for Coast Guard services necessitates the best people, modern technology, resilient infrastructure, and highly capable assets; and
Whereas Congress must recognize the importance of maximizing afloat readiness for the Coast Guard by supporting personnel, investing in mission-enabling technologies, and modernizing assets: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) recognizes the success of the Hamilton-class cutters in service to the United States;
(2) commends the officers and crew of Hamilton-class cutters for their technical excellence, accomplishments, professionalism, and sacrifices;
(3) supports the role of Coast Guard cutters and their importance to national security, law enforcement at sea, and homeland defense; and
(4) applauds the Coast Guard for continuing to advance the capabilities of the fleet with the National Security Cutter to adapt to the growing need for a global Coast Guard presence.