The Coast Guard’s three newest Fast Response Cutters were commissioned together during a ceremony on Guam presided over by the service’s commandant Adm. Karl Schultz.

The new ships significantly boost the Coast Guard’s footprint in the Pacific amid concerns of rampant overfishing and competition for influence between the U.S. and China in the region.

The Coast Guard’s District 14, which includes Guam and is headquartered in Honolulu, is the service’s largest area of operations. During a recent 10-day visit to Hawaii, Federated States Micronesian President David Panuelo met with military officials, including Coast Guard commanders at Sand Island.

“The people of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Micronesia can rest assured that these multi-mission platforms stand ready to support our partners throughout the region,” Capt. Nick Simmons, commander of Coast Guard Forces Micronesia Sector Guam, said in a press release about Thursday’s commissioning.

Adm. Karl Schultz, the commandant of the Coast Guard, presides over a rare triple-commissioning ceremony at Coast Guard Sector Guam July 29, 2021. During the ceremony, Coast Guard Cutters Myrtle Hazard, Oliver Henry and Fredrick Hatch were commissioned. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Travis Magee/Released)
The Fast Response Cutters Myrtle Hazard, Oliver Henry and Fredrick Hatch joined Coast Guard District 14 in a triple commissioning ceremony in Guam. Courtesy: U.S. Coast Guard/2021

Last year the Coast Guard announced that it intercepted several foreign fishing vessels in the exclusive economic zones of Guam and Hawaii during the first two months of 2020.

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, bringing more than 70 new Coast Guardsmen along with family members to Guam. Prior to their arrival, Guam’s Coast Guard footprint was composed of about 250 active duty personnel and 40 reservists.

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