US Coast Guard commissions fast response cutter Jacob Poroo

The US Coast Guard commissioned USCGC Jacob Poroo, its 25th fast response cutter (FRC), in a ceremony in New Orleans on December 8.

The cutter is the second FRC stationed in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and in the Coast Guard’s Eighth District, which encompasses all or part of 26 states, including the portion of the Gulf Coast that extends from Texas to the Florida panhandle.

The Sentinel-class FRCs posses advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment; over-the-horizon cutter boat deployment to reach vessels of interest; and improved habitability and seakeeping.

The ships can reach a top speed of at least 28 knots and have an endurance of five days. The FRCs are designed for multiple missions, including search and rescue; national defense; ports, waterways and coastal security; drug and migrant interdiction; and fisheries patrols.

The Coast Guard is acquiring 58 FRCs to replace its 110-foot Island-class patrol boats; 44 have been ordered. Twenty-five are in service: 12 in Florida, six in Puerto Rico, two in Alaska, two in New Jersey, two in Mississippi and one in Hawaii. Future FRC homeports include Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, and San Pedro, California.

The cutter’s namesake, Petty Officer 1st Class Jacob Poroo, suffered fatal injuries after entering a burning building to attempt a rescue June 2, 1968. At the time, Poroo was serving as a hospital corpsman stationed on Coast Guard Cutter Balsam, based in Adak, Alaska. Poroo and several others escaped the early morning fire safely, but he heard shouting from the building, which he believed was one of his companions, so he went back in to assist. After Poroo had determined that everyone was safe, he gave sound medical advice to his companions until help arrived, despite receiving second- and third-degree burns over 75 percent of his body. He died from medical complications later that month. For his courage and altruism, he received the Coast Guard Medal.