Ketchikan, Alaska (KINY) - U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Denman, the Coast Guard's newest 154-foot Fast Response Cutter, will be commissioned in Ketchikan on Wednesday at 10 a.m.
Vice Adm. Andrew J. Tiongson, commander, Coast Guard Pacific Area and Rear Adm. Nathan A. Moore, commander, Coast Guard 17th District will preside over the ceremony, accepting the forty-ninth FRC and third of its class in Southeast Alaska into the military service's fleet.
The cutter was named for Douglas Denman who was born in Tallapoosa, Georgia and joined the Coast Guard in 1940. He was eventually assigned to the USS Colhoun as a coxswain. On Aug. 30, 1942, the Colhoun was positioned off the coast of Guadalcanal when it was attacked by adversarial aircraft. Denman was seriously wounded during the attack, but remained at his duty station.
When the order was given to abandon ship, Denman and another crewmember helped evacuate the crew and get life jackets to those already in the water. Because of Denman’s selfless actions, 100 of the 150 officers and crew survived the attack and sinking of Colhoun.
For his heroic efforts, Denman received the Silver Star and Purple Heart medals. He served for 20 years in the Coast Guard, retiring as a Senior Chief Petty Officer in 1961.
Named after Coast Guard enlisted heroes, the FRCs are replacing the aging Island-class 110-foot patrol boats. The Sentinel-class cutters deliver vital capabilities to the Coast Guard, helping to meet the service’s need in the coastal zone and adjacent waters.
Cutters like the Douglas Denman, facilitated hundreds of domestic fisheries boardings, apprehended 105 suspected drug smugglers, interdicted 18,877 kilograms of cocaine, depriving transnational criminal organizations of $787 million in profits and rescued or interdicted 1,805 irregular maritime migrants during fiscal year 2021.
The commissioning of a ship is an age-old tradition where the vessel is assigned to active service and the crew ceremoniously reports aboard to accept their positions that will be passed on like a torch until the ship’s life comes to an end in the service and it is decommissioned.