The Coast Guard Cutter Kimball (WMSL 756) and crew returned to their Honolulu homeport, Friday, following a 42-day, 10,000 nautical mile Western Pacific patrol.
Kimball was the first U.S. military ship in recent history to visit the port city of Kagoshima, Japan, where the crew partnered with servicemembers from Japan Coast Guard’s 10th District to plan and conduct combined operations and search-and-rescue exercises.
Kimball’s crew met with Japan Coast Guard senior leadership and hosted Japan Coast Guard servicemembers, U.S. Consulate Fukuoka staff, community leaders and local media aboard the cutter during the port visit in support of Operation SAPPHIRE.
Operation SAPPHIRE is a joint agreement between the U.S. and Japan Coast Guards signed in 2022 for enhancing cooperation between the two sea services. SAPPHIRE is an acronym for the ‘Solid Alliance for Peace and Prosperity with Humanity and Integrity on the Rule of law-based Engagement.’
“By collaborating with Japan Coast Guard members and conducting evolutions that enhanced communication and inter-operability during the patrol, the crew continued to strengthen a solid foundation for the positive and productive relationship with the maritime service of a like-minded nation,” said Captain Tom D’Arcy, Kimball’s commanding officer.
Kimball’s crew demonstrated proficiency in the ship’s aviation program by working with an air operations inspection team to conduct a biennial Shipboard-Aviation Standardization Inspection (AVSTAN). By achieving their AVSTAN certification, Kimball can continue deploying with aviation detachments during future patrols.
Kimball also supported U.S. Coast Guard efforts to increase its presence in the Indo-Pacific. Kimball’s crew delivered a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Barber’s Point to Santa Rita, Guam, to enable forward operations that extend the service’s air coverage in the region.
During the patrol, the cutter’s engineering department was presented with the Rear Admiral R. S. Lucas Plaque Award for their outstanding contributions to the Coast Guard’s naval engineering program. Members from Kimball’s engineering department were cited for excellence and ingenuity during recent patrols and for completing three extensive industrial periods encompassing significant maintenance, contractual repair projects, and casualty repairs valued at over $4.4 million.
“I am extremely proud of our crew’s accomplishments,” said D’Arcy. “Kimball continues to remain on the front lines of the Coast Guard’s strategic plan. Our engagements in Japan strengthened our existing relationships with international partners who uphold good maritime governance. Kimball’s patrol re-affirmed the U.S. Coast Guard’s commitment to facilitating a free and open Indo-Pacific.”
Commissioned in 2019, Kimball is the Coast Guard’s seventh national security cutter and one of two homeported in Honolulu. National security cutters are 418-feet-long, 54-feet-wide and have a displacement of 4,500 long-tons. With a range of 12,000 nautical miles, the advanced technologies of Legend-class national security cutters are designed to support the national objective to maintain the security of America’s maritime boundaries and provide long range search-and-rescue capabilities.