Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis: The last cruise

After more than 40 years of service to our nation, Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis has just completed their final patrol. As Jarvis prepares to be removed from active service next week, the captain took a moment to reflect on the ship’s remarkable missions and dedicated crew.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis returns to Honolulu from their final patrol aboard the 40-year-old vessel Sept. 15, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric J. Chandler.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis returns to Honolulu from their final patrol aboard the 40-year-old vessel Sept. 15, 2012. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric J. Chandler.

Written by Capt. Richard Mourey, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis.

We have a proud crew. You can tell by the way they pitch in together to get things done. You can see it when they hustle to man their stations. You can hear it in the positive pitch of their responses to the most technical or the simplest of questions. I could tell within days of reporting aboard in late June that this would be a great tour.

Capt. Richard Mourey, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis.

Capt. Richard Mourey, commanding officer of Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis.

A ship can accomplish anything with a proud crew. The spirit of all ships resides in the hearts of the crew, no matter where they go. With this in mind, we decided to focus on what we will be keeping with us instead of what we will be losing. Soon we will be leaving Jarvis behind for another ship, the Morgenthau. Yet, we will remain the same capable, hard charging crew.

Even knowing the ship is not long for service, the crew continues to demonstrate their pride in Jarvis in every way. The condition of a ship is a reflection of how the crew feels about themselves. The magic that has kept these ships deploying through four decades of service is that there is no magic at all. The successful deployments can be measured in the sweat pouring forth from hard working crews. Jarvis is no exception and the crew worked hard to prepare for her final cruise to work for the 14th Coast Guard District to protect our home waters, the Hawaiian Islands.

Jarvis’ final patrol was, by operational standards, an average patrol. We did what Coast Guard Cutters do, day in and day out… We stood the watch. We helped our shipmates become proficient in their jobs, we challenged ourselves with drills to ensure we remained ‘Always Ready’ and we took pride in the care and maintenance of our beloved Jarvis. But to me and my crew, this was anything but an average patrol, it was our tribute to all those who sailed on Jarvis. It is not the operational statistics that we will take with us when we say goodbye to Jarvis, it is the spirit of the crew.

Again and again, I witnessed the crew’s pride and determination. Demonstrating amazing tenacity and technical proficiency, the engineers repaired the evaporator in grueling conditions at sea to allow the ship to remain on deployment. The operations specialists used satellite and radar systems to guide us directly to each and every targeted fishing vessel allowing our teams to enforce fisheries regulations and ensure each vessel was being operated safely.

Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis holds the distinction of being the first Coast Guard cutter to be commissioned in Hawaii, and has called Honolulu home since being commissioned Aug. 4, 1972.  U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Coast Guard Cutter Jarvis holds the distinction of being the first Coast Guard cutter to be commissioned in Hawaii and has called Honolulu home since being commissioned Aug. 4, 1972. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

On occasion, when they did a great job, the crew cheered. They cheered when they formed a cohesive team to maneuver the ship and launch the boat to recover a simulated man overboard in under seven minutes in the dark. They cheered when never before tested break-in watchstanders fixed the ship’s position as a navigation team without having to rely on GPS. These small victories motivated the crew to cheer…themselves. And on the last night, they gave it all they had, safely conducting one of the most dangerous evolutions Coast Guard cutters do, night helicopter landings and launches. Demonstrating true grit, they assessed the risk associated with equipment malfunctions on both the helicopter and the ship, and pushed through it all to demonstrate to themselves that they could do it. They knew they’d done well and this made their time at sea meaningful.

As we prepare to retire the Jarvis, I have had a wonderful opportunity to communicate with former crewmembers. They are chomping at the bit to come back and see the ship, to tell their stories, to demonstrate their pride in their time aboard. It is no wonder that today’s Jarvis crew has such an indomitable spirit. The spirit is the most important ingredient to success passed down from crew to crew. Because Coast Guard crews have invested so much pride in her, it will be sad to see Jarvis go. Yet, the spirit of Jarvis will live on, as we bring our crew back to Hawaii aboard Morgenthau to continue in the great tradition of mission success set forth by this crew and those who served before us. It is an honor and privilege to represent the long line of Jarvis crewmembers as the final commanding officer.

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