The U.S. Coast Guard said today that commanding officer Capt. Marc Brandt of the National Security Cutter James was “temporarily relieved of duties” on Aug. 26 after an unspecified incident.
“Vice Adm. Kevin Lunday, commander of Coast Guard Atlantic Area, effected the relief due to a loss of confidence in Brandt’s ability to command the cutter,” USCG said in a statement. “The circumstances leading to a loss of confidence involved a mishap aboard the cutter. No personnel were injured.”
Capt. John Driscoll was appointed to assume temporary command of the cutter “pending the results of an investigation into the mishap,” while Brandt has been “temporarily assigned” to Coast Guard Atlantic Area.
The Coast Guard did not elaborate on the incident that led to Brandt’s reassignment.
The National Security Cutters are considered the most state-of-the-art ships in the Coast Guard’s fleet. The program to replace the aging high-endurance cutters has so far yielded nine cutters: Bertholf (WMSL 750), Waesche (WMSL 751), Stratton (WMSL 752), Hamilton (WMSL 753), James (WMSL 754), Munro (WMSL 755), Kimball (WMSL 756), Midgett (WMSL 757), and Stone (WMSL 758). Delivery of a tenth cutter, the Calhoun, is anticipated in fiscal year 2023.
“The Coast Guard Cutter James is one of three 418-foot National Security Cutters (NSC) homeported in North Charleston, South Carolina. With its robust command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance equipment, the NSC is the most technologically advanced ship in the Coast Guard’s fleet,” the Coast Guard said. “NSCs are equipped with three state-of-the-art small boats, a stern boat launch system, dual aviation facilities, and serve as an afloat command and control platform for complex law enforcement and national security missions involving the Coast Guard and numerous partner agencies.”
James launched in Pascagoula, Miss., on May 3, 2014, and was commissioned in Boston Aug. 8, 2015. The James’ namesake is Capt. Joshua James, who died in 1902 at the age of 75 while on duty with the U.S. Life-Saving Service.
Two years after being commissioned, the cutter served as a command-and-control platform in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to help respond to the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria.