Stationing FRCs in Bahrain supports Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA), the Coast Guard’s largest unit outside of the U.S., and its mission to train, organize, equip, support and deploy combat-ready Coast Guard forces in support of U.S. Central Command and national security objectives.
PATFORSWA works with Central Command in conducting maritime operations to forward U.S. interests, deter and counter disruptive countries, defeat violent extremism and strengthen partner nations’ maritime capabilities in order to secure the maritime environment in the Central Command area of responsibility.
The cutter’s namesake, Glen Harris, was awarded the Silver Star Medal for gallantry displayed as a landing craft coxswain during the invasion of Tulagi, which took place Aug. 7-9, 1942, during World War II. Adversarial forces had occupied Tulagi, part of the Solomon Islands, and were constructing seaplane bases, refueling facilities and communications infrastructure there. Concerned that these installations posed a significant threat to Allied supply lines in the Pacific theater and would serve as staging areas for future attacks, Allied forces developed a plan to dismantle the adversary’s capabilities on Tulagi and the surrounding islands. Harris, along with three other Coast Guard coxswains, landed the first U.S. Marines on Tulagi and, over the next three days of conflict, made repeated trips under heavy enemy fire to deliver ammunition and other supplies to U.S. forces, contributing to the enemy’s eventual defeat.
The Sentinel-class FRCs feature advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment; over-the-horizon cutter boat deployment to reach vessels of interest; and improved habitability and seakeeping. The cutters are designed for multiple missions including search and rescue; national defense; ports, waterways and coastal security; drug and migrant interdiction; and fisheries patrols.
The U.S. Coast Guard has ordered 64 FRCs to date. With this commissioning, 44 are in service: 12 in Florida; seven in Puerto Rico; four in California; three each in Guam, Hawaii, Texas and New Jersey; and two each in Alaska, Mississippi, North Carolina and Bahrain. Glen Harris will sail to Bahrain with Emlen Tunnell once post-delivery and commissioning activities for that vessel are completed. Future FRC homeports include Boston; Astoria, Oregon; St. Petersburg, Florida; and Kodiak, Seward and Sitka, Alaska.
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