The U.S. Coast Guard officially announced the establishment of U.S. Coast Guard Base Guam on Wednesday as the service continues to build its presence in the Pacific.
In a news release, the service said: "The establishment will shift current facilities engineering, naval engineering, comptroller and base operations, health, safety, and work life, personnel support, information technology, and procurement billets and responsibility from the existing U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam to a new Base Guam command structure."
Led by Cmdr. Dana Hiatt, U.S. Coast Guard Base Guam will operate under the direction of the Coast Guard's Operational Logistics Command, providing extra logistical support to the existing U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam, which falls under the Coast Guard's Hawaii-based District 14.
The Coast Guard has been rapidly expanding its operations and presence in the Pacific. In July 2021, the service held an unusual triple commissioning ceremony in Guam provided by then-Coast Guard commandant Adm. Karl Shultz for three new Sentinel-class fast response cutters.
The Coast Guard has been working to replace its aging fleet of cutters as the vessels play an increasingly critical role in the U.S. military's strategy at sea. The new Sentinel-class fast response cutters are 154 feet long and reach speeds of over 30 mph. Each cutter has a 24-person crew, with more than 70 new Coast Guardsmen along with family members to Guam.
"The establishment of Base Guam marks a significant milestone in strengthening the U.S. Coast Guard's presence and capabilities in the region, " the Coast Guard said in its release. "The unit is physically located on the existing U.S. Coast Guard footprint within U.S. Naval Base Guam."
U.S. and Palauan officials met in Guam in August to sign an agreement to increase cooperation on maritime security, particularly protecting fisheries. It followed a similar agreement between the U.S. and the Federated States of Micronesia in 2022. Many smaller Pacific island nations lack coast guards or navies of their own and depend on help from American vessels.
"This agreement helps Palau monitor our exclusive economic zone, protect against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and deter uninvited vessels from conducting questionable maneuvers within our waters, " said Palauan President Surangel S. Whipps Jr. in a statement. "It's these types of partnerships that help us work toward our common goal of peace and prosperity in the region."
Coast Guard District 14, which conducts operations across the Pacific islands, currently has 10 cutters assigned to it -- six home-ported in Hawaii and four home-ported in Guam. Hawaii is expected to receive its seventh, the CGC Harriet Lane, later this year.
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