It’s a small plot of land that’s never left unguarded. The Sentinels who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are a small and exclusive group. They stand their post 24 hours a day, 365 days a year regardless of the weather. Hear the Sentinel’s Creed and you’ll know why. DOD video edited by Air Force Staff Sgt. Jared Bunn
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The Coast Guard held a joint decommissioning ceremony Wednesday for the North Carolina-based “Graveyard Enforcers,” a pair of 110-foot Island-class patrol boats USCGC Cushing (WPB-1321) and USCGC Nantucket (WPB-1316) in Atlantic Beach, NC.
The ceremony honored 30 years of the cutters’ service to the Coast Guard. The 110s were originally designed to last 15-20 years, so they both served well beyond their intended service life.
The Cushing was the 21st 110-foot Island Class cutter built by Bollinger shipyard in Lockport, Louisiana, and commissioned on Dec. 1, 1988. Cushing’s first homeport was Mobile, Alabama, followed by San Juan, Puerto Rico. Cushing moved permanently to Atlantic Beach in 2015. Cushing was built primarily as a platform for law enforcement, but conducted missions including maritime homeland security, migrant interdiction, fisheries enforcement and search and rescue.
The Nantucket was the 16th 110-foot Island Class cutter built by Bollinger shipyard in Lockport, Louisiana and commissioned in 1987. Nantucket’s first homeport was Miami, followed by Key West, Florida, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and St. Petersburg, Florida. Nantucket was moved permanently to Atlantic Beach in 2014. Nantucket was built primarily as a platform for law enforcement, but conducted missions including maritime homeland security, migrant interdiction, fisheries enforcement and search and rescue.
“Today is a great day because we’re celebrating not only Cushing and Nantucket but the crews who maintained them throughout the years,” said Lt. Mario Gil, commanding officer of the Cushing.
The cutters will transit to the Coast Guard Yard where they will undergo a final decommissioning process. From there they may be considered for various options such as being placed for sale on GSA Auctions or foreign transfer. This has been an ongoing process with this class that has seen two of the former WPBs put into service with the Sea Shepherd (Whale Wars) group while others have gone to Georgia and Costa Rica.
The same week, Fifth Coast Guard District (Mid-Atlantic) welcomed the 158-foot Sentinel (Webber)-class Fast Response Cutter USCGC Lawrence Lawson (WPC-1120) to the area, set for her official commissioning ceremony in Cape May, N.J., next week.
Sentinels, assigned to the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), stand guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, Va., Jan. 22, 2016, as a record breaking snow storm hits the Washington, D.C. area. The Tomb Guards maintain a constant vigil at the Tomb no matter the weather conditions and has done so in an unbroken chain ever single second of the past 48 years.