Cutters Complete Missions in Arabian Gulf
Coast Guard cutters Boutwell, a 378-ft. high endurance cutter homeported in Alameda, Calif., and Walnut
, a 225-ft. buoy tender homeported in Honolulu, began heading home today after completing their missions in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom
Both cutters conducted a wide range of missions while serving in the Gulf, including maritime force protection, coastal and terminal security, and maritime interception and marine environmental response. The cutters also assisted in the post-Saddam economic recovery of Iraq by securing vital oil infrastructure
and improving the safety of the navigational approach to its only international seaport
"Without question, the skill and dedication of the crews of Walnut and Boutwell were instrumental to the overall success of our naval forces and underscored the importance of the Navy
-Coast Guard team," said Vice Adm. Tim Keating
, the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command
. "The can-do spirit demonstrated by the Coast Guard forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom has solidified their service’s character as a maritime, multi-mission, military service and continued its proud history of service to the country in time of conflict."
The Coast Guard’s role in Operation Iraqi Freedom represents its largest overseas deployment in support of military operations since the Vietnam War.
Cutter Boutwell departed
Alameda on Jan. 3 and began operations in the Arabian Gulf on Feb. 14. At one point in the deployment, from Feb. 14 until April 25, the cutter spent 70 days at sea without a port call.
Prior to the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Boutwell’s crew conducted maritime interception boardings to enforce U.N. sanctions against Iraq. At the outbreak of hostilities and throughout Operation Iraqi Freedom, they operated in the strategically critical and politically sensitive Khawr Abd Allah and Shaat Al Arab Waterways, providing force protection to the massive coalition fleet, securing the Iraqi oil terminals, and preventing the movement of weapons, personnel or equipment by Saddam Hussein
's regime or other guerilla or terrorist forces.