The Coast Guard bid its final farewells to the cutter Gallatin on Monday in a decommissioning ceremony at its homeport in Charleston, S.C.
The ship and its 170 crew members capped off its 45 years in service with three patrols with 2013, busting nearly three tons of cocaine from South America, a Coast Guard Atlantic Area release said.
“There is a special relationship that exists between sailor and ship, especially for a cutter as long-serving and loyal as Gallatin,” Capt. Caleb Corson, Gallatin’s final commanding officer, said at the ceremony. “In writing the final chapter as the last high endurance cutter in the East Coast, its proud legacy will live on forever in Coast Guard history, our memories and in our hearts.”
The 378-foot Gallatin is the last East Coast high-endurance cutter to be decommissioned, though seven remain in service on the West Coast. It’s the sixth cutter named after former Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin, who served under presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
The ship’s missions have included “maritime law enforcement, domestic and international humanitarian relief, search and rescue, nation-building and ambassador of goodwill,” the release said.
The cutter’s next assignment is with the Nigerian navy. A small crew of Nigerian sailors has been training on the ship in South Carolina in preparation for the transfer.
The national security cutter Hamilton, the fourth of eight planned ships in the class, will replace Gallatin in South Carolina following its scheduled December commissioning.