Bollinger Shipyards LLC has delivered the USCGC Maurice Jester to the U.S. Coast Guard in Key West, Florida. This is the 178th vessel Bollinger has delivered to the U.S. Coast Guard over a 35-year period and the 52nd Fast Response Cutter (“FRC”) delivered under the current program.
“We’re incredibly proud to deliver another Fast Response Cutter to be homeported in Boston, the birthplace of the U.S. Coast Guard,” said Bollinger President & C.E.O. Ben Bordelon. “We’re confident that pound for pound, the quality and capabilities of the FRC platform is unmatched, and that this vessel will outperform its mission requirements and expectations in the challenging conditions where it will operate in the North Atlantic. Our unique experience building for the Coast Guard is unparalleled and has shown time and time again that we can successfully deliver the highest quality vessels on a reliable, aggressive production schedule. We look forward to continuing our historic partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard.”
The USCGC Maurice Jester will be the third of six FRCs to be homeported in Sector Boston, which is known as “The Birthplace of the Coast Guard.” The sector is responsible for coastal safety, security, and environmental protection from the New Hampshire-Massachusetts border southward to Plymouth, Massachusetts out to 200nm offshore. Sector Boston directs over 1,500 Active Duty, Reserve, and Auxiliary members whose mission is to protect and secure vital infrastructure, rescue mariners in peril at sea, enforce federal law, maintain navigable waterways, and respond to all hazards impacting the maritime transportation system and coastal region.
Each FRC is named for an enlisted Coast Guard hero who distinguished themselves in the line of duty. Maurice Jester enlisted in the Coast Guard as a Surfman in 1917, working his way up to Chief Boatswain’s Mate by 1935 while serving on five cutters. Commissioned as a Lieutenant and promoted to Lieutenant Commander, he was the first Coast Guardsman to earn the Navy Cross in World War II, and the first Coast Guard Officer to receive the award for a combat action in direct confrontation with enemy forces. During World War II, Coast Guard cutters battled Nazi submarines in an area off the North Carolina Coast termed “Torpedo Junction.” Jester commanded the Coast Guard Cutter Icarus in the sinking of a German U-352 off the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This historic event resulted in the war’s second U-boat sinking by U.S. forces and the first U.S. capture of German combatants.
The FRC is an operational “game changer,” according to senior Coast Guard officials. FRCs are consistently being deployed in support of the full range of missions within the United States Coast Guard and other branches of our armed services. This is due to its exceptional performance, expanded operational reach and capabilities, and ability to transform and adapt to the mission. FRCs have conducted operations as far as the Marshall Islands—a 4,400 nautical mile trip from their homeport. Measuring in at 154-feet, FRCs have a flank speed of 28 knots, state of the art C4ISR suite (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance), and stern launch and recovery ramp for a 26-foot, over-the-horizon interceptor cutter boat.