What is the main benefit the
FRC is giving you in your
U.S. COAST GUARD
Lt. Cmdr. Herb Eggert, right, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter
Bernard C. Webber gives Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, a tour of
the Coast Guard’s first Sentinel-class patrol boat during her visit to Base Miami
Beach, Fla., May 3, 2012. At center is Rear Adm. William D. Baumgartner,
Seventh Coast Guard District commander.
How do you think the FRC
will help other Coast Guard districts?
EGGERT: Generally, what works in the Seventh District
will also work in the other districts. The improved sea-keeping will definitely go a long way to help the crews
that will operate in the rough waters off New England
What operational challenges have you faced?
Are there any additional capabilities you would
like to have on the FRC?
EGGERT: The biggest challenge to date has been integrating the many different systems that we use. While
nearly every system aboard the FRC has been proven in
other applications, putting them all together for the first
time can be challenging. We have learned a lot on the fly.
The Coast Guard has done a great job teaming with
the shipbuilder to take our lessons learned during
operations to generate changes that will improve the
mission effectiveness of the entire fleet.
What nontangible differences can you notice
between the FRC and the older cutter it
EGGERT: We certainly get a lot more attention. I’ve been
around patrol boats for a pretty long time, but this is my
first interview for Seapower. Getting the mission done is
just a little easier aboard the new ships. The combination
of so many small improvements really adds up.
When you are used to serving aboard an older ship,
working with current technology feels like Christmas
morning. You have the right tools in the right place to
improve your situational awareness, provide real-time
status of every system on the ship, and it is packaged
in a hull that handles the seas very well to provide a
stable platform to get the job done.
How is the crew reacting to the FRC?
EGGERT: After about a year of operations, the crew is
very proud of how much they have been able to
achieve with a brand new ship. The transition to operations can be challenging, but the progress we see now
validates the effort required. While there have been
many challenges, we are beginning to see more and
more of them in our wake, which builds confidence
that these ships will serve our country well. I know our
junior crew members are looking forward to the opportunity to serve on an FRC again in the future.
Do you feel any pressure to succeed each time
you go out because the FRC is considered one
of the three new flagship cutters for the service?
EGGERT: I have always put a lot of pressure on myself
to produce positive results, but there is a little added
incentive being assigned to one of the Coast Guard’s
newest ships. We have had some interesting operations, but some of the crew’s most important contributions have been in the development of operating procedures and establishment of parameters that will help
future crews operate safely, with long-lasting impact on
the successful operations of the whole fleet.
I know the crew has worked very hard over the last
year, and their efforts have helped prove that the FRC
will be an outstanding asset for the Coast Guard for
many years to come. ■