Construction of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter CONFIDENCE began at the Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, Maryland, in 1965 and was completed in 1966. The fifth of 16 vessels in the class, CONFIDENCE was designed for search and rescue and law enforcement missions, including alien migrant interdiction operations (AMIO) and counter-drug operations. CONFIDENCE was originally assigned to the Seventeenth Coast Guard District supporting operations for 17 years while home ported in Kodiak, Alaska. In the spring of 1983, CONFIDENCE was reassigned to the Thirteenth Coast Guard District and moved homeports to Port Angeles, Washington. During her time in the Pacific Northwest, CONFIDENCE’s crew seized 17 foreign and U.S. vessels for violations of U.S. law. . In January 1986, CONFIDENCE and her crew seized the Panamanian freighter “Eagle 1” with 506 pounds of cocaine onboard. This was the largest maritime seizure of cocaine on the west coast at the time.
In February of 1987 CONFIDENCE was decommissioned and sent to the Coast Guard Yard for a major overhaul referred to as a Midlife Maintenance Availability. Modifications and updates installed included a new electronics package, new engines, and smokestacks to increase efficiency, and habitability improvements. In October 1988, CONFIDENCE was commissioned back into service and sent to her new homeport in Port Canaveral, Florida. Operating from Florida, the ship is typically assigned to patrol the waters off the southern coast of the United States, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean. Her primary missions include counterdrug, alien migrant interdiction, ports waterways and coastal security, protecting maritime resources, law enforcement, and search and rescue operations.
Since CONFIDENCE’s change in homeport to Florida, she has been heavily involved with interdicting Haitian, Cuban, and Dominican Republic migrants attempting to illegally enter the U.S. While participating in Operation ABLE VIGIL, CONFIDENCE rescued 1,123 Cuban migrants in less than 4 weeks. The busiest day resulted in the interdiction of 346 migrants from 46 separate rafts and boats in just 16 hours. Similarly, as part of Operation ABLE MANNER in the spring of 1997, CONFIDENCE interdicted 428 Haitian migrants. Later that year, the ship was the primary platform for Operation RESTORE DIGNITY off the coast of Haiti, recovering 78 Haitians who perished when their ferry sank.
In August 2005, CONFIDENCE was one of the first surface assets on scene to respond to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, delivering supplies and aid to the ravaged Gulf Coast. After weathering the storm out at sea, withstanding 30 foot seas and 80 knots of wind, CONFIDENCE immediately went to Key West to gather supplies and fuel in order to assist in the rescue efforts. After departing Key West, CONFIDENCE stopped in Pascagoula, Mississippi. While there, she disembarked crewmembers and supplies to assist the local Coast Guard station in repairing radio towers destroyed during the storm. From there, CONFIDENCE continued on to New Orleans. She remained off shore for weeks acting as a refueling station for the helicopters conducting search and rescue missions within the inundated city. After conducting hundreds of refueling operations, CONFIDENCE received orders to conduct inspections of all vessels entering New Orleans. She acted as the keeper for the city’s main maritime entry route, deterring any terrorist activity from further damaging the devastated Gulf Coast.
Originally designed for a 30-year service life, CONFIDENCE continued to serve into 2006 which marked the 40th anniversary of CONFIDENCE’s construction. Due to her age, from July 2006 until January 2007, CONFIDENCE became the second 210 WMEC to undergo the Mission Effectiveness Project (MEP). During this six month maintenance period CONFIDENCE received a number of upgrades to its Command and Control architecture along with a new davit system to launch and recover its new MKIII Over-the-Horizon (OTH) pursuit boat.
After undergoing MEP, CONFIDENCE continued to protect and defend the United States, conducting missions throughout the western hemisphere. Since 2007, CONFIDENCE has prevented over 4,000 kilos of cocaine and over 10,000 lbs of Marijuana from entering the U.S.. She has rescued over 30 mariners in distress and safely coordinated efforts to interdict, care for, and repatriate over 1,500 migrants to their countries of origin. Through the years, CONFIDENCE and her crew have worked tirelessly to perform the mission and answer the nation’s call.
During her years of faithful service, CONFIDENCE’s awards have included the Presidential Unit Citation, Secretary of Transportation’s Gold Medal for Outstanding Achievement, 6 Coast Guard Unit Commendations, 5 Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendations, 3 National Defense Service Medals, 4 Humanitarian Service Medals, and 4 Special Operations Ribbons. Following the ship’s 2013 Tailored Ships Training Availability, CONFIDENCE earned her 13th consecutive Coast Guard Battle â€œEâ€ Ribbon for Operational Excellence.