Newly Built USCG Cutter Heads for Ketchikan, Alaska Homeport

U.S. Coast Guard
The U.S. Coast Guard accepts delivery of the 49th Fast Response cutter Douglas Denman in Key West, Fla., May 26, alongside the Denman family. The cutter will be homeported in Ketchikan, Alaska. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

U.S. Coast Guard cutter Douglas Denman, the 24th Fast Response Cutter built by Bollinger Shipyards in Key West, Fla., will be homeported in Ketchikan, Alaska. The 154-foot-long cutter will have a crew of 24, according to the USCG.

Coast Guard officials accepted the vessel in Key West in late May, at a ceremony attended by Denman’s son, Doug Jr., daughter Karen and the elder Denman’s grandchildren and their families.

The Coast Guard is in the midst of a Fast Response Cutter (FRC) acquisition program to replace aging Island-class 110-foot patrol boats. The vessels feature advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance equipment and an over-the-horizon cutter boat.

Douglas Denman is designed for multiple missions, including law enforcement, fisheries enforcement, waterways and coastal security, search and rescue and national defense.

Earlier this year, President Joe Biden signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2022, which included a $130-million increase for two additional FRCs, continuing the build beyond its 64-vessel program of record. This is the second time Congress has added FRCs, extending the original 58-vessel program.

The cutter’s namesake joined the U.S. Coast Guard in 1940 and was eventually assigned as a coxswain to the USS Colhoun, a Wickes-class destroyer which served in the U.S. Navy during World War I and was later re-designed in World War II.

On Aug. 30, 1942, the Colhoun was off the coast of Guadalcanal when it was attacked. Denman was seriously wounded, but remained at his duty station. When the order was given to abandon ship, Denman and another crew member helped evacuate the crew and get life jackets to those already in the water.

Thanks to Denman’s actions, 100 of the 150 officers and staff survived the attack and sinking of the Colhoun.  Denman received the Silver Star and Purple Heart medals for his heroism. He served for 20 years in the Coast Guard, retiring in 1961 as a senior chief petty officer.