U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Reliance joins Diligence, Decisive, Dauntless at NAS Pensacola

Jake Newby Pensacola News JournalPublished 6:00 AM EDT Sep 1, 2020After calling Kittery, Maine home for 32 yea

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After calling Kittery, Maine home for 32 years, U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Reliance arrived at its new homeport of NAS Pensacola Monday. 

The Reliance (WMEC-615) will serve alongside Coast Guard Cutters Diligence, Decisive, Dauntless and Cypress onboard NAS Pensacola. Its primary responsibilities will include counter-drug operations, migrant interdiction, enforcing federal fishery laws and to search and rescue in support of Coast Guard operations throughout the western hemisphere.

The cutter and crew departed their former homeport at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine on July 6. At that time, it headed for the Coast Guard Yard in Baltimore, Maryland to effect repairs to the propulsion shafts. Then on Aug. 5, the crew sailed from the Coast Guard Yard to begin a patrol of the Windward Pass between Cuba, the Bahamas and Haiti, alongside interagency and international partners to prevent dangerous, illegal maritime migration.

►Diligence arrives: Photos: Coast Guard Cutter Diligence finds new home at NAS Pensacola

The patrol included the repatriation of 16 Haitian migrants, participation in a search for survivors of a capsized Haitian vessel, shipboard training and storm avoidance.

"Reliance's departure from Kittery, Maine brings an end to 31 years of faithful service in the North Atlantic,” said Cmdr. Robert Hill, commanding officer of the cutter Reliance. “The crew has performed exceptionally during our patrol amidst the challenges faced by COVID-19 and multiple tropical storms that arose. I could not be prouder of this crew and know that we are ready to continue our service in Pensacola, where the Coast Guard has strategically clustered part of its 210-foot cutter fleet for logistical support and proximity to our mission area of responsibility."

The Reliance is now part of the 8th Coast Guard District, which covers the Florida Panhandle and 25 other states, including the Gulf of Mexico coastline all the way to Mexico. Another substantial inland waterways of the Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois and Tennessee River systems.

“It’s definitely a different environment for the crew,” Hill said, of the move to Florida. “Reliance, typically in the North Atlantic, was doing a lot of fisheries enforcement boarding, so our missions down here are a change of pace, but the crew is excited to be here. We are looking forward to it.”

Jake Newby can be reached at jnewby@pnj.com or 850-435-8538.