The Coast Guard Cutter Dependable sits moored to the pier during a Heritage Recognition Ceremony in Virginia Beach, Va., April 9, 2024.

The Coast Guard Cutter Dependable sits moored to the pier during a Heritage Recognition Ceremony in Virginia Beach, Va., April 9, 2024. (Nick Ameen/U.S. Coast Guard)

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Dependable has lived up to its name.

That was made clear Tuesday in a ceremony in Virginia Beach, Va., to honor the Dependable and its 56 years of service to the nation, according to a Coast Guard news release.

The ceremony, which served to celebrate the Dependable’s legacy, underscored the cutter’s reputational motto, “Count on Us — Credibility Built on Excellence,” in the presence of cutter leadership, current and former crew members, families and friends.

The event also marked the ship’s exit from active-duty service for an indeterminate time, placing it in commission, special status. Dependable served as a Coast Guard Atlantic Area asset and was most recently homeported in Virginia Beach at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.

“I am proud and humbled to have served with and led the men and women of the Dependable,” said Cmdr. Kristopher Ensley, the cutter’s commanding officer. “These sailors represent everything that is right about our Coast Guard and our Nation: they have lived with honor, respect, and an absolute devotion to their duty. Over the past 10 months, I have seen them care for each other, care for our ship, and execute our missions — protecting America, enforcing our laws and saving lives. They have lived up to the 56 years of legacy of Dependable’s history. They have lived up to the standard set by our motto: the Coast Guard and America have been able to ‘Count on Us.’”

Dependable’s most recent mission ended in February after 59 days at sea, during which its job included maritime safety and security in the Florida Straits and Windward Passage in support of Homeland Security Task Force-Southeast and Operation Vigilant Sentry. During the deployment, Dependable:

  • Located and deterred four unlawful voyages with approximately 100 migrants on board.

  • Rescued 33 people aboard a 25-foot vessel in distress 6 miles off Haiti’s coast during heavy seas. Crew members conducted the search and rescue mission in 8-to-12-foot seas and winds gusting to 46 mph, saving all on board.

Dependable now transitions into an inactive shipyard status as part of the Coast Guard’s program to temporarily adjust operations to better reflect the approximate 10% shortage of enlisted members. The current crew will transfer to new units.

“The Coast Guard cannot maintain the same level of operations with our current shortfall — we cannot do the same with less,” said Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Linda Fagan and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Heath Jones in a joint statement. “Conducting our missions is often inherently dangerous, and doing so without enough crew puts our members and the American public at increased risk.”

Dependable is a 210-foot, Reliance-class medium endurance cutter with a crew of 76. Since commissioning in 1968, Dependable has executed counterdrug and migrant interdiction operations, enforced federal fishery laws, and conducted search and rescue missions in support of Coast Guard operations throughout the Western Hemisphere.

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