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Coast Guard cutter making its way to Honolulu

The Coast Guard Cutter Sherman departs Naval Base San Diego Jan. 16, 2015, en route to its new home port of Honolulu. The Sherman will take over for the Coast Guard Cutter Rush, which is selected for decommissioning.

ROB SIMPSON/U.S. COAST GUARD

By WILLIAM COLE | The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (Tribune News Service) | Published: January 20, 2015

A 378-foot Coast Guard cutter is on its way to Honolulu for duty as a replacement for the similar cutter Rush, which is being retired and might head to Bangladesh.

The Sherman left San Diego on Friday for its new home port in Hawaii. A change of command and crew swap are expected in early February as the Coast Guard prepares to decommission the 46-year-old Rush.

The Coast Guard has been swapping out its aging Hamilton-class, high-endurance cutters with similar ships that are in better shape as it seeks to get the most service life out of the 1960s-vintage vessels.

The Sherman was commissioned in 1968 -- a year earlier than Rush. Seven of an original 12 Hamilton-class cutters are still in service, including the Morgenthau, commissioned in 1969 and moved to Honolulu in late 2012.

The Hamilton-class cutters ultimately will be replaced by the so-called National Security Cutters, 418 feet long with a range of 12,000 nautical miles and endurance for 60- to 90-day open-ocean patrol cycles.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz said in 2013 that the last two of eight new National Security Cutters would be based in Honolulu.

"The National Security Cutter is the most technologically advanced ship in the Coast Guard's fleet," Schatz said at the time. "Bringing these two new cutters to Honolulu will give the 14th Coast Guard District the capability it needs to safeguard Hawaii's maritime interests."

Adm. Paul Zukunft, Coast Guard commandant, said last month, "The eight versatile National Security Cutters have the sensor capability, intelligence suite, fire control systems, aircraft and extraordinary people to command cutter task forces, operate as a part of a Navy battle group or sail independently."

The Coast Guard commissioned the Hamilton, the fourth new National Security Cutter, into service Dec. 6 at the cutter's home port of Charleston, S.C.

The other three National Security Cutters in service -- the Bertholf, Stratton and Waesche -- are based in Alameda, Calif.

The fifth ship, James, also will be based in Charleston and is scheduled for delivery this summer, the Coast Guard said.

Delivery of the sixth ship, the Munro, is scheduled for 2016. The seventh, the Kimball, is under production, and materials for the eighth, the Midgett, have been ordered, the Coast Guard said.

Bangladesh reported in September that the Rush was being offered to its navy as part of the foreign military sales program.

In an Oct. 29 joint statement of the third U.S.-Bangladesh Partnership Dialogue, the U.S. State Department said security cooperation between the two countries continues to grow.

The United States transferred the Coast Guard cutter Jarvis -- also previously stationed in Honolulu -- to Bangladesh in 2013.

The State Department said the re-christened Somudra Joy, the largest ship in Bangladesh's navy, delivered 40 tons of aid to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

"The United States plans to transfer a second Coast Guard cutter, the USCGC Rush, to join its sister ship in spring 2015," the State Department said.

In the early 1970s Rush was involved in operations off the coast of Vietnam. On Nov. 22, 1970, according to the Coast Guard, Rush was part of a U.S. naval task force with a mission to capture a North Vietnamese supply trawler delivering weapons.

The trawler tried to flee and attacked the U.S. minesweeper Endurance. The Rush assisted with three other U.S. warships in the sinking of the trawler, the Coast Guard said.

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