USCG stepping up in the Marianas

As we have covered in recent posts, in the past couple of years the U.S. Coast Guard has gotten a good bit more dynamic in the Western Pacific.

Of note, the U.S. is responsible for the defense of not only American Samoa and the territories of Guam (where four brand new 158-foot Fast Response Cutters and 300 personnel are based) as well as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, but also the American-associated states of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia‎, and the Republic of Palau, covering the bulk of the old Trust Territories of the Pacific.

The crews of USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) and the FSS Tosiwo Nakayama (P901) conducted a joint patrol near Yap State in support of the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency’s Operation 365, part of the FFA’s regional monitoring control and surveillance operations to stop illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in the Pacific on March 16, 2023. Photo GM2 Muldowney and Mr. Tareg Jr.

While seemingly small in size, the FRCs have proved to have long legs, with one Guam-based cutter recently covering an 8,000-mile patrol to Australia and back with several stops in New Guinea and one in the FSM. 

Well, the Coasties are stretching out with more than just their shiny new 158s.

Personnel from U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam and the large 225-foot buoy tender USCGC Sequoia (WLB 215) worked with customs counterparts in Saipan in the CNMI this month.

This comes four months after the first FRC visit to nearby Tinian for a week last November.

“The exchange was based on the standards used by U.S. Coast Guard small boat stations nationwide and focused on administrative topics, such as completing unit organization manuals, standing orders, detailed duties, assignments, and watch schedules.” (USCG photos).

In another move, an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and crew from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point (Hawaii) is forward deployed to Guam for the next six weeks while “working with U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia to assess the feasibility of more frequent operations in the islands.”

If so, it would be the westernmost USCG air det. 

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew deployed to Guam from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point in Hawaii flies patterns to assess winds and terrain before conducting rescue hoist training at Sella Bay Overlook in Guam on March 8, 2023. (USCG photos).


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