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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Commissioning Ceremony of the US Coast Guard Cutter Douglas Denham

The Coast Guard accepts delivery of the 49th Fast Response Cutter Douglas Denman, in Key West, Florida, on May 26, 2022. The cutter will be homeported in Ketchikan, Alaska. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Today, at 2pm Eastern Time, the US Coast Guard is commissioning the US Coast Guard Cutter USCGC-1149 Douglas Denman, a Fast Response Cutter, named after the father of a local resident, Donna Denman Harwell Odum. Her father received the Silver Star and Purple Heart medals for his actions during World War II.

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The commissioning of a ship is an age-old tradition where the vessel is assigned to active service and the crew ceremoniously reports aboard to accept their positions that will be passed on like a torch until the ship’s life comes to an end in the service and it is decommissioned.

Silver Star
The cutter was named for Douglas Denman who was born in Tallapoosa, Georgia, and joined the Coast Guard in 1940. He was eventually assigned to the USS Colhoun as a coxswain. On Aug. 30, 1942, the Colhoun was positioned off the coast of Guadalcanal when it was attacked by Japanese aircraft. Denman was seriously wounded during the attack, but remained at his duty station. When the order was given to abandon ship, Denman and another crewmember helped evacuate the crew and get life jackets to those already in the water. Because of Denman’s selfless actions, 100 of the 150 officers and crew survived the attack and sinking of Colhoun. For his heroic efforts, Denman received the Silver Star and Purple Heart medals. He served for 20 years in the Coast Guard, retiring as a Senior Chief Petty Officer in 1961.

The WPC-1149 Douglas Denman was delivered to the US Coast Guard in May of this year and is now ready to be commissioned in a ceremony in Ketchikan, Alaska, after a 36-day journey from Key West, Florida.

Image provided by Donna Denman.

Following production of the ship in 2020, the first crewmember arrived in Ketchikan summer of 2021. Since then, the crew has undergone a year of administration and training in preparation to take ownership of the cutter. The engineering department alone attended a total of three months of school in addition to the crew’s seven weeks of familiarity training in Lockport, La., and seven weeks of Post Delivery Availability phase in Key West, Fla.

Building a Fast Response Cutter

April 12, 2022: The plankowners of the USCGC Douglas Denman (WPC-1149) spend their first week in Lockport, LA learning all about their new boat. They get a behind-the-scenes look at the different stages in building the Coast Guard's newest Fast Response Cutters.

“It’s been a long but extremely rewarding journey to get to this point,” said Chief Petty Officer Hayes Printy, the cutter’s engineering chief. “Seeing the crew’s growth throughout the process and being able to make this unit what we want is an experience I will cherish and not forget.”

The cutter will be commissioned at the end of September and fully operational in its area of responsibility in Southeast Alaska where the missions will include law enforcement, fisheries enforcement, search and rescue, and national security.

The Douglas Denman is scheduled to be permanently homeported in Sitka, Alaska, upon completion
of required shore infrastructure improvements.

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Published at 10:00am on Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Author: Bobby Coggins