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Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast Decommisioned in Ceremony at N. Oregon Coast's Astoria

Published 2/08/24 at 5:15 p.m.
B
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Coast Guard Cutter Decommisioned in Ceremony at N. Oregon Coast's Astoria

(Astoria, Oregon) – After nearly 60 years of helping to guard the Oregon coast, a rather legendary and hard-working US Coast Guard vessel was decommissioned in a ceremony last week in the north Oregon coast town of Astoria. It was a marking-of-passage for a ship that had served the region and this country for over half a century. (Photo courtesy US Coast Guard)

The Coast Guard let go of the US Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast (WMEC 623) on February 1, one of the last remaining Reliance-class medium endurance cutters, with now only 12 left in the fleet.

Rear Adm. Brendan McPherson, deputy commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area, presided over the ceremony for the Steadfast.

It first went to work in 1968, and over these 56 years its crew engaged in countless rescues, counter-narcotic operations and illegal immigrant enforcement. At 210 feet, it was one of 16 of these types of vessels put into the water back then.

McPherson said the Steadfast had frequently conducted lifesaving missions, serving the country with honor as it helped protect national security and protect the United States' Marine Transportation System and its array of ports, docks and shipping lanes.

“I am immensely proud of Steadfast’s crew for their dedication to duty while enhancing our nation’s maritime safety and security throughout the Pacific Ocean,” McPherson said.

One of its most recent missions was among its most impressive in its history, with the cutter out of port for about 64 days and a mileage of some 11,742 nautical miles. It traveled from Oregon down to the coast of central Mexico, working on public affairs missions, helicopter operations, training new personnel, and various kinds of law enforcement effots.

Now, the cutter and soon all the other 210-endurance class will be replaced by the 360-foot Heritage-class offshore patrol cutters and the 154-foot fast response cutters.

“The offshore patrol cutters will provide the majority of offshore presence for the Coast Guard’s cutter fleet, bridging the capabilities of the 418-foot national security cutters, which patrol the open ocean, and the 154-foot fast response cutters, which serve closer to shore,” US Coast Guard said in a release.

After this, the ship will become part of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Foreign Military Sales Program and transferred to Baltimore. It will then become available for sale to other countries as part of the Excess Defense Article, where numerous vessels go eventually.

Steadfast’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Brock Eckel, said the ship has had an “incredible legacy” of service to the nation.


“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to lead such an amazing crew through dynamic patrols and high-risk counter-narcotics operations,” he said. “I want to thank the crew for their dedication, camaraderie, and desire to serve our country; they are what make this ship so special.”

In March of 2023, the Steadfast returned from this adventure (excerpt from Oregon Coast Beach Connection):

The US Coast Guard (USCG) saw the return to port of its cutter Steadfast (WMEC 623) this week, back in Astoria after 69 days of patrolling the waters off Oregon all the way down to South America and engaging in a handful of successful counternarcotics operations.

According to the USCG in Astoria, the Steadfast disrupted the flow of illegal narcotics on three sizable endeavors that resulted in the seizure of more than 7,500 pounds of cocaine, valued at $85.6 million, assuring that none of it would reach U.S. maritime borders or the streets of North America.

More than 12,000 nautical miles were traversed during the operation, as the crew conducted training as well as assisted with search-and-rescue missions and providing assistance with their helicopter. There were numerous law enforcement missions during their run from their homeport on the Oregon coast down through Mexico and beyond.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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