The crew of USCGC Morgenthau (WHEC-722) receives prestigious award for cutter excellence

U.S. Coast Guard photo.

HONOLULU – The crew of the USCGC Morgenthau (WHEC 722) was awarded the Capt. Hopley Yeaton Cutter Excellence Award for 2016.

“From conducting replenishment and gunfire support missions during the Vietnam War to most recently patrolling the Bering Sea in support of America’s fishing industry, this ship has proven itself from Aztec Shores to Arctic Zones and remains the ‘Pride of the Pacific,’” said Capt. Edward St. Pierre, commanding officer of USCGC Morgenthau. “This award is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of Morgenthau’s crew and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”  

The Capt. Hopley Yeaton Cutter Excellence Award is presented to cutter crews that distinguish themselves from other units through exceptional performance in categories including operations and mission accomplishment, commitment to crew and families, cutter training and readiness and engineering.

In 2016, Morgenthau’s crew completed two three-month fisheries patrols in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska, totaling more than 189 days away from homeport ensuring the safety and  integrity of  an industry valued at over $6 billion annually and accounting for more than half of the annual catch in the United States. As a long-range law enforcement platform, the crew conducted more than 125 at-sea boardings, some in partnership with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service.

Morgenthau was the Coast Guard’s primary response asset during five major search and rescue cases including a September 2016 rescue of a 79-year-old man adrift aboard a disabled vessel. The vessel and operator were ultimately transported to Dutch Harbor. In October 2016, Morgenthau’s crew responded to the distress call of a disabled and adrift, 430-foot cargo with 11 crewmembers aboard. Morgenthau also towed a 105-foot crab fishing vessel and crew to Dutch Harbor during extreme heavy weather.

On the training and maintenance side, the crew maintained the highest level of readiness resulting in the crew passing a Ready For Sea assessment with flying colors in advance of a major patrol. They also achieved high unit drill and mandated training completion rates through 190 drills and the qualification of crewmembers in over 300 watchstations. Due to a robust law enforcement program, they maintained three fully qualified boarding teams of four members each, a force multiplier enabling the cutter to conduct multiple boardings simultaneously and achieve a record-breaking 70 boardings in one patrol. This set the standard for training and readiness in the Coast Guard’s cutter fleet.

The engineers maintained a 93 percent preventative maintenance completion rate, the highest in the Pacific Area cutter fleet. Their skills and knowledge were put to test conducting an overhaul of one of the cutter’s diesel generators, an evolution which required removing the generator through a hole cut in the side of the ship. They displayed great ingenuity making repairs to a main diesel engine exhaust leak despite having been shipped the incorrect parts for the job.

While in port, the crew developed strong bonds with communities at home and abroad through volunteer service with Feed Hawaii Together, Habitat for Humanity and a beach cleanup event following the destruction of Tropical Storm Darby. The crew also volunteered at Hokulani Elementary School and while in Unalaska assisted in running a Midnight Madness event for local children and a Halloween Family Night.

The Morgenthau is a 378-foot high endurance cutter originally commissioned in 1969 and homeported in Honolulu. The crew currently patrols from South America to the Bering Sea, conducting counter-narcotics missions, alien migrant interdiction operations, foreign and domestic fisheries enforcement, and search and rescue.