The US Coast Guard’s patrol boat USCGC Baranof (WPB 1318) was decommissioned during a ceremony aboard Naval Support Activity Bahrain on 26 September.
Baranof was commissioned into service in May 1988 at Coast Guard Base Miami Beach in Miami.
The 18th of 49 Island-class patrol boats, Baranof received orders to the US Fifth Fleet area of operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2002. Shortly after their arrival in Bahrain, Baranof’s crew was underway conducting maritime interdiction operations in the North Arabian Gulf.
The vessel was replaced by the USCGC Clarence Sutphin Jr. (WPC 1147), which arrived at NSA Bahrain in August this year.
As part of the Coast Guard’s fast response cutter program, the service is acquiring 65 Sentinel-class fast response cutters, with six of those assigned to US Coast Guard Patrol Forces Southwest Asia.
PATFORSWA, the Coast Guard’s largest unit outside of the United States, oversees the cutters in Bahrain. The ships are forward deployed to US Fifth Fleet to help ensure maritime security and stability across the Middle East.
The 154-foot long vessels feature advanced communications systems, and improved surveillance and reconnaissance equipment.
PATFORSWA, which is operationally attached to Fifth Fleet’s Commander Task Force 55, is composed of six FRCs, shoreside mission support personnel and a maritime engagement team.
The unit plays a crucial role in maritime security, maritime infrastructure protection, and regional theater security cooperation. The unit also supports other US Coast Guard deployable specialized forces operating throughout the Middle Eastern region, the officials concluded.