ALAMEDA, Calif. – The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Waesche returned to its homeport at Coast Guard Island in Alameda, Calif., April 21, after a 91-day deployment to the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
Since departing on Jan. 20th, the Waesche completed an 18,000-mile patrol in support of joint counter-drug operations off the coast of California and in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. During that time the cutter and crew demonstrated their capability as a multi-mission unit.
On April 19, the crew assisted two boaters in distress when their 12-foot sailboat began taking on water approximately three miles west of San Diego. The crew spotted the sailors struggling to keep their boat upright and deployed a rescue boat crew to assist. The Waesche's crew helped keep the boat afloat until more Coast Guard rescue crews form Station San Diego arrived on scene to take the sailors and their boat back to shore.
Early in their patrol, the Waesche participated in a search and rescue mission assisting two mariners 90 miles west of San Diego when their sailboat began taking on water. Also in January law enforcement crews aboard the cutter seized more than 2,400 pounds of marijuana from a boat approximately 300 miles west of San Diego, apprehended three suspects and recovered 70 bales which tested positive for marijuana. (See original release here.)
"These events demonstrated the readiness of the ship and crew to respond in emergency situations, and once again displayed the multi-mission capabilities of the legend-class cutters in today’s Coast Guard fleet,” said Capt. John McKinley, commanding officer of the Waesche.
Additionally, during the mid-patrol break in Panama City, Panama, Waesche crewmembers participated in a community relations project by painting and restoring a local school.
The Waesche is 418 feet long with a top speed of 28 knots, a range of 12,000 nautical miles, and a permanent crew of 120. It is equipped with a 4,000 square-foot flight deck and hangers capable of housing two multi-mission helicopters. Cutters like Waesche routinely conduct operations from South America to the Bering Sea where their unmatched combination of range, speed, and ability to operate in extreme weather provides the mission flexibility necessary to conduct counter-narcotics, homeland security, migrant interdiction operations, domestic fisheries protection, search and rescue, and other Coast Guard missions at great distances from shore keeping threats far from the U.S. mainland.