After more than 40 years of service to the nation, Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis has retired from active service. Led by their motto, “Dedicated to Excellence,” the ship will leave behind a powerful legacy, shaped by the men and women who have proudly served aboard the 378-foot ship over the last four decades.
Jarvis held the distinction of being the first cutter to be commissioned in Hawaii, and has called Honolulu home since being commissioned Aug. 4, 1972, the Coast Guard’s 182nd anniversary. The cutter is named after Capt. David H. Jarvis who led the Overland Expedition to rescue 300 whalers stranded off Barrow Point, Alaska, in 1897. Trapped by ice and with a dwindling food supply, the whalers had little chance of surviving. Jarvis’ expedition drove a herd of reindeer across 1,500 miles of Arctic ice and snow to rescue the starving whalers.
Jarvis devoted the majority of his career to pioneering and developing maritime activities off Alaska’s northwest coast. Cutter Jarvis’ crewmembers deployed with that same sense of spirit and adventure inherited from their namesake and continued to save lives and execute missions more than a century later.
“The magic that has kept these ships deploying for four decades of service is no magic at all,” said Capt. Richard L. Mourey, commanding officer of Jarvis. “Successful deployments can be measured in the sweat pouring from the hard working crews.”
Josh Copley, currently serving as the deputy city manager for the City of Flagstaff, Ariz., is a former Jarvis crewmember and Coast Guard veteran who attended the ceremony.
“Being a fresh, new crewmember coming aboard Jarvis in the spring of 1980, I wasn’t sure what to expect. As a 20-year-old, I had high hopes of adventure, camaraderie and meaningful purpose,” said Copley. “Without a doubt, I can say that the Jarvis, in her officers and crew, exceeded all of my expectations. Indeed, in looking back on my subsequent career in law enforcement and now management of a city, the lessons I learned in teamwork, leadership and perseverance began aboard Jarvis.”
High endurance cutters such as the Jarvis have been in service since the 1960s, and are in the process of being replaced by the Coast Guard’s larger and more technologically advanced 418-foot national security cutters.
But the technological advancements and superior capabilities the national security cutters bring are only as good as the crews who will walk their decks. The crews must have heart and dedication, just as decades of Jarvis sailors did.
“Whether it was boarding foreign vessels in the rough Bering Sea for fisheries enforcement or patrolling the calmer waters of the Southern Pacific Ocean to protect our environmental assets, the mission we inherited from those who came before us is continued to this day by the present crew of the Jarvis,” said Copley.
As Jarvis has finished well and accomplished the mission, Copley offers one final word for Jarvis and her crew, “Aloha.”