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Coast Guard commissions new fast response cutter in San Juan

The 33rd fast response cutter (FRC), Joseph Doyle, arrived in Key West, Florida, prior to its delivery on March 21, 2019. The cutter’s commissioning is scheduled for June; it will be the seventh FRC based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (U.S. Coast Guard/Released)
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The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Doyle is now helping to protect Virgin Islands waters.

The cutter was commissioned Saturday at U.S. Coast Guard Sector San Juan, which serves Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, according to a Coast Guard press release. It is the 33rd fast response cutter 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 Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón, who is also the ship’s sponsor.

“Each fast response cutter represents an extraordinary resource which increases our search and rescue and other multimission capabilities,” 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.”

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 resource protection and other Coast Guard missions, according to the release.

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“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,” said Lt. Catherine Gillen, the cutter’s commanding officer.

The class replaces the aging 110-foot Island-class patrol boats. The new cutters are 154 feet long and carry a 24-person crew — the Islandclass carried 16.

The new cutters have a maximum sustained speed of 28 knots and are armed with a stabilized 25 mm machine-gun mount and four .50-caliber machine guns, according to the release.

Each of the cutters is named for Coast Guard members who distinguished themselves in the line of duty.

Capt. Joseph O. Doyle was born in 1836 and on July 11, 1878, he was appointed keeper of the Charlotte, N.Y., Life Saving Station. In 1878, he achieved two impressive rescues, according to the Coast Guard release.

On Sept. 11, 1878, at 9:30 p.m., the schooner B.P. Dorr of Chicago was stranded about one mile west of Doyle’s station. Despite rain, a strong torch aboard the vessel could be seen. 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 was on Oct. 23, 1878, and involved the wreck of the schooner Star of Millpoint, Ontario, during a gale.

Doyle was awarded the Gold Life Saving Medal for his heroic actions in the conduct of both rescues. He served until 1893, when he was medically retired due to injuries received in service.

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© 2019 The Virgin Islands Daily News (St. Thomas, VIR)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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