Bernard C. Webber setting the tone for
Fast Response Cutter program expectations
Lt. Cmdr. Herb Eggert is the commanding officer for the U.S.
Coast Guard Fast Response Cutter (FRC) flagship, Bernard C. Webber.
The 154-foot Sentinel-class ship was built by Bollinger Shipyards Inc.
and commissioned in April 2012. It is homeported in Miami, headquarters of the Coast Guard’s Seventh District.
The service plans to order 58 FRCs, whose primary tasks are fishery
patrols, drug and illegal migrant law enforcement, search and rescue,
and national defense. They are replacing the 110-foot Island-class
patrol boats. Six FRCs have been delivered, the most recent being
Paul Clark in May. The FRCs will be named after enlisted heroes the
Coast Guard has acknowledged throughout its history.
projects for the service’s 25-year fleet recapitalizing program.
U.S. COAST GUARD
The Seventh District is slated to get the first 18 FRCs because that
region — which includes the Caribbean Sea — has a high daily volume
of migrant and drug interdictions. The FRC, National Security Cutter
and Offshore Patrol Cutter programs are the cornerstone acquisition
Eggert is a 1996 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New
London, Conn., and has been a commanding officer on both the 110- and 123-foot patrol boats during
The commanding officer talked about surprises in capabilities and the high expectations for the first FRC
with Associate Editor John C. Marcario. Excerpts follow:
How is the FRC operating?
EGGERT: The FRC has proven to be a very versatile asset
and has performed well in the Coast Guard’s high-pace
Seventh District. As with any new asset, we have had some
growing pains as we establish standard operating procedures, logistics support mechanisms and best practices.
But, overall, the crew is very happy with the cutter’s performance, and feels that the class has a very bright future.
What capabilities is it giving you that you did
EGGERT: I have been surprised by the speed and safety
of the stern launch for the cutter small boat. It has
made every mission we perform with the boat much
easier. The FRC has also been able to stay out beyond
the minimum-required five days without a sweat.
The MTU 4000-series diesel engines have proven to
be very economical at low speeds, and the crew habitability improvements reduce fatigue to enable up to
seven days endurance without replenishment. The
endurance isn’t comparable to our larger Medium-Endurance Cutters, but it gives our operational commanders more flexibility to keep the FRC on scene
longer during complicated law enforcement cases or
search-and-rescue efforts, when we otherwise would
have had to depart.