The Coast Guard cutter Kimball returned to its homeport of Honolulu on Nov. 2, having completed an 85-day patrol covering 14,000 nautical miles from the Hawaiian Islands north to the Arctic Circle.
While at sea, the vessel’s crew provided search-and rescue coverage and conducted living marine resources (LMR) and Illegal Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing operations. They also responded to wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui.
On the evening of Aug. 8, while en route to the Aleutian Islands, the cutter received a report of people in the water attempting to escape a raging wildfire on Maui. The cutter shifted to tactical control of Sector Honolulu and altered course to support the mass search and rescue.
Arriving on scene within hours, Kimball became the on-scene commander of Coast Guard Station Maui, Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Gerczak and Air Station Barbers Point MH-65s, which collectively searched 790 square nautical miles, saved 17 lives and assisted some 40 survivors ashore.
After being relieved of duty in Hawaii, the Kimball’s crew transited north to support the Coast Guard’s 17th District by providing search-and-rescue coverage and conducting LMR and counter IUU-fishing patrols. They spanned the Northern Pacific Ocean, Bering Sea and the American Arctic.
As the sole U.S. military asset in the Bering Sea, Kimball also was diverted to provide a presence alongside the U.S. domestic fishing fleet in the remote region of the U.S. Arctic upon receiving intelligence of a Russian military exercise within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The cutter’s presence ensured the safety of 23 mariners while they worked within the U.S. EEZ near Russian warships as part of Operation Frontier Sentinel.
While in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, Kimball’s crew engaged with the local community by participating in sports at the community center, conducting cutter tours and volunteering for community events. Notably, Kimball assisted the Museum of the Aleutians in relocating fragile gray whale fossils for a new exhibit.
The Kimball also met with the Unalaska Mayor Vincent Tutiakoff Sr. to discuss how the Coast Guard and the town can continue strengthening their relationship.
Kimball, commissioned in 2019, is the Coast Guard’s seventh national security cutter. National security cutters are the largest, most technologically sophisticated cutters in the Coast Guard’s white-hull fleet.