The cutter’s command group, (left to right) Petty Officer 1st Class Nicole Thomas, first officer of the deck, Lt. j.g. Graham Sherman, executive officer, and Lt. Kevin Connell, commanding officer, were on hand to bring the ship to life. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Sabrina Laberdesque)
Coast Guard Cutter Charles Sexton was commissioned into service March 8 at Coast Guard Sector Key West, Fla. The Sexton is the second of six Fast Response Cutters to be homeported in Key West, and the eighth vessel to be delivered through the Coast Guard’s Sentinel-class FRC recapitalization project.
The cutter is named after Machinery Technician 1st Class Charles W. Sexton, who drowned during a rescue operation conducted off the coast of Washington. On Jan. 11, 1991, Sexton was aboard a motor lifeboat dispatched to assist the 75-foot fishing vessel Sea King, which was taking on water off the Columbia River bar. After boarding the Sea King, he helped stabilize an injured crew member and dewatered flooded compartments of the ship for six hours to keep the Sea King afloat.
While being towed toward port, the Sea King capsized without warning. Sexton and two of the Sea King’s crew were trapped inside and could not be rescued. For his extraordinary heroism and selfless actions, Sexton was posthumously awarded the Coast Guard Medal.
The 154-foot FRC class has a flank speed of 28 knots, state-of-the-art command, control, communications and computer technology and a stern launch system for the vessel’s 26-foot cutter boat. Sexton will join the seven Fast Response Cutters delivered to date in performing operations in the Seventh Coast Guard District, an area comprised of 1.8 million square nautical miles of ocean ranging from the South Carolina coast to the Caribbean.
Delivery of the ninth FRC, to be commissioned the Coast Guard Cutter Kathleen Moore, is scheduled for later this month.