The newest U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Richard Etheridge, the Coast Guard’s second Sentinel Class patrol boat was commissioned at Port Everglades on Friday.
The Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutters are designed to conduct maritime drug interdiction, alien migrant interdiction, search and rescue, national defense, homeland security, living marine resources and other Coast Guard missions. This class of patrol boat is capable of deploying independently to execute Coast Guard missions and prevent potential threats from approaching U.S. shores and offers vastly improved capabilities over the aging 110-foot Island class patrol boats it replaces. The Fast Response Cutter is part of the Coast Guard’s layered approach to maritime security that includes the National Security Cutter and the Offshore Patrol Cutter.
The Etheridge is 154 feet long, has a beam of 25 feet and a maximum sustained speed of more than 28 knots. The cutter is armed with a stabilized 25mm machine-gun mount and four, crew-served 50-caliber machine guns. The cutter is named after Richard Etheridge, the first African-American to command a life-saving station. Etheridge led the Pea Island Lifesaving Station crew of six in a daring rescue operation that saved the entire crew of the schooner E.S. Newman, which had become grounded in a treacherous storm in 1896.
The commissioning ceremony was attended by Adm. Robert Papp, U.S. Coast Guard commandant, Cmdr. Christian Lee, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Richard Etheridge along with other Coast Guard senior officers and distinguished federal, state and local officials.
Naval Today Staff, August 6, 2012; Image: USCG