A Charleston-based Coast Guard cutter has been ordered to deploy overseas to support Operation Enduring Freedom and to prepare for future contingencies.
USCGC Dallas (WHEC-716), a 378-foot high endurance cutter with a crew of about 175, was underway on patrol this past weekend when it received the order from the Atlantic Area commander here to head overseas. Dallas is deploying with an HH-65B Dolphin helicopter and 7-member aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City, N.J.
The ship departed Charleston Feb. 8, patrolling and conducting training off the East coast of the United States prior to receiving deployment orders.
The largest and most capable class of Coast Guard cutter, Dallas is deploying at the request of the Department of Defense as the U.S. repositions some of its military forces where required to support the global war on terrorism and to prepare for future contingencies.
Dallas' unique capabilities in maritime law enforcement, port security and search and rescue, plus its modern command, control and communications equipment make the cutter an important asset for this mission.
"Dallas has a long and distinguished history of serving the nation in times of conflict,” said Captain Christopher Colvin, Dallas commanding officer. “This deployment is characteristic of the kinds of missions this ship was built for. We are a multi-mission, maritime and military force, and we’re ready to do whatever it is our country and our military needs us to do.”
Dallas joins eight 110-foot patrol boats; the CGC Boutwell – another 378-foot cutter that deployed from Alameda, Calif., Jan. 3; four Port Security Units (PSU), including PSU 305 from Ft. Eustis, Va; and PSU 309 from Port Clinton, Ohio, along with operations and support personnel from 20 other commands already receiving orders for Operation Enduring Freedom.
“This deployment illustrates the Coast Guard’s commitment to protecting America both at home and abroad,” said Atlantic Area Commander Vice Adm. James Hull. “The Coast Guard is a military force and we have unique and specialized skills needed by the Department of Defense.”
Less than three percent of the Coast Guard’s resources are being deployed in support of these operations overseas. The Coast Guard continues
to maintain a strong and active role in providing homeland security throughout the nation in what has become the biggest port security operation (Noble Eagle) since WWII.
Serving overseas with the Department of Defense is not new for the Dallas. The high endurance cutter has previously been deployed to the U. S. Navy Sixth Fleet to conduct defense operations, the most recent being in 1999 as a participant in NATO Operation ALLIED FORCE during the Balkans conflict. In 1995, Dallas deployed to the Sixth Fleet as a member of the USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT Battle
Group during Operations DENY FLIGHT, MARITIME MONITOR and SHARP GUARD off the former Yugoslavia.
In 1994, Dallas represented the United States and the U. S. Coast Guard at the 50th anniversary Normandy
D-Day reenactment. During the late 1960's and early 1970's Dallas completed seven combat patrols off Vietnam conducting 161 naval gunfire missions.
In support of other Coast Guard missions, Dallas served as the command ship coordinating migrant rescue and interdiction operations during Operation ABLE MANNER off Haiti between 1991-1993; and for the Mariel Boatlift north of Cuba in 1980. In 1986, Dallas served as the command ship during recovery efforts of the Space Shuttle Challenger.
Dallas was commissioned in 1967 and is the sixth to bear the name of Alexander J. Dallas, Secretary of the Treasury under President James Madison.