Hawaii Receives First Sentinel-Class Coast Guard Cutter

The Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124) arrived in Honolulu Friday becoming the first of three 154-foot fast response cutters stationed in Hawaii.

The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124) arrives to their new Homeport in Honolulu, Sept. 22, 2017. The Oliver Berry is the first of three 154-foot fast response cutters to be stationed in Hawaii. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Amanda Levasseur/Released)

The cutters are designed to patrol coastal regions and feature advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment, including the ability to launch and recover standardized small boats from the stern. The Oliver Berry is the first of three Honolulu-based FRCs that will primarily serve the main Hawaiian Islands.

The cutter is named after Chief Petty Officer Oliver Fuller Berry, a South Carolina native and graduate of the Citadel. He was a highly skilled helicopter mechanic working on early Coast Guard aircraft. Berry was also one of the world’s first experts on the maintenance of helicopters and served as lead instructor at the first military helicopter training unit, the Rotary Wing Development Unit which was established at Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, in 1946. He also helped develop the helicopter rescue hoist.

Lt. j.g. Peter Driscoll, executive officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Oliver Berry (WPC 1124) waves as the cutter arrives for the first time at Coast Guard Base Honolulu, Sept. 22, 2017. There will be three fast response cutters stationed at Base Honolulu by the spring of 2019. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Tara Molle/Released)

Berry had an extensive career spanning much of the globe. He was involved in a helicopter rescue out of Newfoundland that earned him a commendation and the Silver Medal of the Order of Leopold II. In this case, Berry was able to quickly disassemble a helicopter in Brooklyn, New York, which was then flown to Gander, Newfoundland, in a cargo plane where he then reassembled it in time to find and rescue 18 survivors of a crash aboard a Belgian Sabena DC-4 commercial airliner.

The Coast Guard is acquiring 58 FRCs to replace the 110-foot Island-class patrol boats. The FRCs are designed for missions including search and rescue; fisheries enforcement; drug and migrant interdiction; ports, waterways and coastal security; and national defense. The Coast Guard took delivery of Oliver Berry June 27 in Key West. The crew then transited more than 8,400 miles (7,300 nautical miles) to Hawaii.

There will be three fast response cutters stationed here at Base Honolulu by the spring of 2019. These cutters with their improved effectiveness in search and rescue will make the waters around the main Hawaiian Islands a much safer place for recreational boaters and users of the waterway. They greatly improve our on water presence with each providing over 7,500 operational hours, a 40 percent increase over the 110-foot patrol boats.

A commissioning, scheduled to be held Oct. 31, will be presided by Vice Adm. Fred M. Midgette, Coast Guard Pacific Area commander. Also in attendance will be the cutter’s sponsor Susan Hansen, distant cousin of Oliver Berry.

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