Crew members past and present celebrate the USCGC Decisive during decommissioning ceremony.

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 3:20 PM CST
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PENSACOLA, Fla. (WALA) -It’s a bittersweet day for the United States Coast Guard as crew members past and present gathered to celebrate the legacy of the United States Coast Guard Cutter Decisive.

“It’s a storied history and part of our history and heritage in the Coast Guard of all the missions the crews aboard her have done,” said Vice Admiral Kevin Lunday.

The Decisive is a 210-foot reliance-class medium endurance cutter that was commissioned in 1968. Vice Admiral Kevin Lunday says most cutters are built in commercial shipyards. The Decisive had special start to its journey.

“It was built at the at the Coast Guard yard in Curtis Bay, Maryland near Baltimore,” said Lunday. “It was built by Coast Guard employee hands by the amazing men and women at Coast Guard yard for service by their teammates in the Coast Guard.”

Over the last 55 years, the Decisive has played a major role in Coast Guard history. Like in 1994 when the ship rescued over 2500 migrants as part of Operation Able Manner/Able Vigil and more recently when the Decisive helped with search and rescue missions after Hurricanes Katrina and Ian.

“It’s the reason the Coast Guard exists,” said Lunday. “Also protecting the maritime safety and security and our economic prosperity by protecting us from drug smugglers who present threats to the United States.”

Today the Decisive became the third cutter since 2001 to be decommissioned as part of modernization efforts across the fleet.

Commander Aaron Delano-Johnson was given the ship’s commissioning pennant for being the Decisive’s final commanding officer.

“This one’s tattered and lived a pretty good life. Once this is retired from the ship. It’s retired from commissioned service and no longer a ship of war,” said Commander Aaron Delano-Johnson.

He says they just finished their last mission back in January where they went across the Panama Canal to conduct a counter narcotics mission. He says he’ll remember the people he served with the most.

“What’s unforgettable is the shared experiences of the crew at sea. Watching where you all go over the course of your careers is another added benefit of service together aboard a ship. I’ll be proud to sail with any of you again,” said Delano-Johnson.

Next week the crew will take the Decisive back to the Coast Guard yard before they split up and head to their next missions.