Welcome to the fleet, Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley!

The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley salutes as the ship is brought to life during its commissioning at Coast Guard Sector San Juan, Puerto Rico May 20, 2016. The Donald Horsley is the Coast Guard's 17th Sentinel Class fast response cutter and the fifth of its kind to be homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ricardo Castrodad.

The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley salutes as the ship is brought to life during its commissioning at Coast Guard Sector San Juan, Puerto Rico May 20, 2016. The Donald Horsley is the Coast Guard’s 17th Sentinel Class fast response cutter and the fifth of its kind to be homeported in San Juan, Puerto Rico. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ricardo Castrodad.

Written by Ricardo Castrodad

With a max speed of more than 28 knots and a range of nearly 3,000 nautical miles, the Coast Guard’s fast response cutters are crucial to curbing illegal maritime activity.

The cutters perform or assist with a variety of missions, including law enforcement, counter-drug patrols, search and rescue and enforcing fisheries regulations.

The Coast Guard welcomed the 17th fast response cutter, U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley, to the fleet in the cutter’s new home port of San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 20, 2016.

“This latest patrol boat will serve throughout the Caribbean as a vital instrument in strengthening the security and stability of the Western Hemisphere and enhancing the Nation’s maritime safety and security,” said Rear Adm. Scott Buschman, commander of the Coast Guard 7th District.

The cutter’s new commanding officer, Lt. Colleen Denny, also looks forward to the cutter’s future.

Graphic of Coast Guard fast response cutters

Graphic of Coast Guard fast response cutters

“We are excited to be homeported in San Juan and look forward to serve and protect the people of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands,” Denny said.“Upon commissioning we will be prepared to execute the most challenging maritime security, law enforcement, and national defense missions.”

The ceremony also honored the cutter’s namesake, Master Chief Petty Officer Donald Horsley, a boatswain’s mate who served on active duty for more than 44 years.

“I am truly honored and excited to welcome the Donald Horsley and to pay homage to its namesake, a service member who we remember today for his heroism, leadership and the positive impact he had on the lives and careers of so many Coastguardsmen,” Buschman said.

Throughout his career, Horsley demonstrated exceptional skill and leadership while serving aboard 34 vessels and numerous shore units. His lengthy career spanned three wars, including World War II, where he served aboard the USS Cepheus as a coxswain on landing craft and participated in Operation Dragoon (the invasion of southern France) in the European Theater and Operation Iceberg (the invasion of Okinawa) in the Pacific Asian Theater.

During the Vietnam War, Horsley was the senior petty officer assigned to Division 13, Coast Guard Squadron One, serving two tours for a total of 41 months. The Division’s fleet 82-foot patrol boats were tasked with the maritime interdiction of the reinforcement and re-supply vessels for Communist forces fighting in South Vietnam. It was during this assignment that Horsley earned the Bronze Star with a Combat “V,” in part due to his participation in over 100 combat patrols while coming under intensive enemy fire on 11 separate occasions.

“It has been an absolute honor for my shipmates and me to complete the important milestones in bringing USCGC Donald Horsley to life,” said Denny.

Lt. Colleen Denny, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley, presents a framed artwork with photos of the cutter and the names of its 23  plank owner crew members to Kaori Gesinger, daughter of the ship's namesake, Master Chief Boatswain's Mate Donald Horsley, during the ship's commissioning ceremony at Coast Guard Sector San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 20, 2016. The Donald Horsley is the 17th Sentinel Class fast response cutter to be commissioned in the Coast Guard.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ricardo Castrodad.

Lt. Colleen Denny, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Donald Horsley, presents a framed artwork with photos of the cutter and the names of its 23 plank owner crew members to Kaori Gesinger, daughter of the ship’s namesake, Master Chief Boatswain’s Mate Donald Horsley, during the ship’s commissioning ceremony at Coast Guard Sector San Juan, Puerto Rico, May 20, 2016. The Donald Horsley is the 17th Sentinel Class fast response cutter to be commissioned in the Coast Guard. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Ricardo Castrodad.

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