The United States Coast Guard sailed its newest “national security” cutter into its homeport of Honolulu, Hawaii. Although not necessarily short on physical stature, Cutter Midgett (WMSL-757) roped-off its 418-foot $499 million value in the Coast Guard’s District 14, aka the Hawaiian islands.
According to a United States Coast Guard press release, “Midgett is named to honor all members of the Midgett family who served in the Coast Guard and its predecessor services. At least ten members of the family earned high honors for their heroic lifesaving efforts. Among them, the Coast Guard awarded various family members seven gold lifesaving medals, the service’s highest award for saving a life, and three silver lifesaving medals.”
From the United States Coast Guard website we find the following mission statement: “The Coast Guard’s units, vessels and aircraft are permanently deployed in the communities we serve. Our unique role as the only armed service in the Department of Homeland Security gives us both civilian and military responsibilities. We protect America’s economic prosperity, national security, and border – from the heartland to cyberspace.” To that end, Cutter Midgett joins a fleet of maritime vessels staffed by what some refer to as “water cops,” maritime-specific fully-armed federal law enforcement officers commonly patrolling and netting massive quantities of illegal narcotics destined for our shores. In that regard, “mules” hired by cartel figures are taken into custody for the ride aboard our Coast Guard ships, the cuffs compliments of the coasties.
Fascinatingly, Cutter Midgett‘s sojourn to its Hawaiian homeport engendered encounters with not one but two at-sea interdictions involving “suspected low-profile go-fast vessels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, the first July 25 and a second July 31. The boardings resulted in a combined seizure of over 6,700 pounds of cocaine, estimated to be worth over $89 million,” per Coast Guard press release.
Paying for itself? The value of the aforementioned haul during its maiden voyage covered close to one-fifth of the Midgett‘s overall costs. Not bad for a maritime vessel’s fortuitous catch while traversing to its berth in Honolulu.
In the event it came under fire at all (lucky for the mules, it didn’t in either of the aforementioned interdictions), Cutter Midgett‘s armament consists of:
- 1 x Mk-110 57mm Naval Gun System (variant of the Bofors 57 mm gun)
- 1 × 20 mm Block 1B Phalanx Close-In Weapons System
- 4 × .50 caliber machine guns
- 2 × M240B 7.62 mm machine guns
It is also outfitted with ballistic protection for its main gun.
The Midgett‘s propulsion rate reaches capacity at 28 knots, can traverse a range of 12,000 nautical miles across a 90-day mission-span, and houses 150 crewmembers. Cutter Midgett is one of a few in the Legend-class fleet, commissioned to replace “high endurance Hamilton-class cutters (378 feet) that have been in service since the 1960s.”