Coast Guard Tabs Ships, Crews for Deployment
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2003 The U.S. Coast Guard has tabbed 10 ships for deployment in support of the global war on terrorism.
Eight 110-foot patrol boats and two 378-foot cutters have been selected for port-security missions and patrol duty in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Coast Guard Headquarters spokesman Lt. Ron Mench said here Feb. 25.
"It's the first time that Coast Guard combatant ships have been deployed in support of (a national) contingency in 30 years," Mench said. The Coast Guard, he noted, defines cutters as vessels over 65 feet in length.
The deployment affects active duty members and numerous individual reservists who received their orders over the last month or so, he said. About 3,100 Coast Guard reservists have been called up so far to support operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle, Mench noted.
U.S. Central Command, commanded by Army Gen. Tommy Franks, has the responsibility for directing Enduring Freedom missions in Afghanistan. Franks' command would also quarterback operations in the Middle East in the event of a war with Iraq.
Mench said the Coast Guard has played a role in every major American conflict since the maritime service's birth in 1790.
The Coast Guard, the lieutenant remarked, is a multimission service. Homeland security or deploying to support wartime contingencies overseas have long been listed among the Coast Guard's tasks, he said.
"We're very confident that we can do what needs to be done," he concluded.