Portsmouth, Virginia, Official Coast Guard City


The colors blue, red white are associated with the Coast Guard. The three parts of the shield and the three chevrons honor the three previous ships named FORWARD. They, and the present CGC FORWARD, honor Walter Forward, Secretary of the Treasury, under President John Tyler. The scales, adapted from the Department of Treasury Seal, commemorate Walter Forward's position as the first comptroller of the Treasury. The color gold recalls coinage and is also emblematic of high achievement. The cutter's three primary missions; Defense Operations, Enforcement of Laws and Treaties, and Search and Rescue, are represented by the three chevrons. The color red and the chevron's spearhead like shape express action and defense operations. The compass rose denotes the Search and Rescue mission and the far-reaching capabilities of USCGC FORWARD.


The spearhead symbolizes the ship's weaponry, the blue and gray recalling the first FORWARD's serving in the Civil War. The cacti, adapted from the Mexican national flag, highlight the first ship's service in the Mexican War and the second ship's service patrolling the Gulf of Mexico. The flames on the wavy bar representing water emphasize the third ship's rescue of crewman from a torpedoed tanker during World War II. The survivors had to swim under burning oil to get to CGC FORWARD.


The sea lions are fierce and powerful proctors and underscore the ship's mission of enforcing and protecting laws and treaties.  History of Cutters Named FORWARD

History of Cutters Named FORWARD

The roots of the U. S. Coast Guard lie in the U. S. Treasury formed by Alexander Hamilton, when our nation was in its infancy. Walter Forward was Secretary of Treasury under President John Tyler from 1841 to 1843. Each FORWARD has been named after him.

The first FORWARD (1845 - 1865) was a schooner built in Georgetown, District of Columbia. During the Mexican-American War, the U. S. Navy was very short of shallow draft vessels, and the Revenue Cutters were used to supplement the fleet. FORWARD was the most active cutter, having participating in Tabasco assault and attacks on Alvarado and Frintera. During the Civil War, FORWARD was used as a dispatch boat.

The second FORWARD (1882 - 1912) was a cruising cutter, which operated in the Gulf of Mexico for most of its career. FORWARD patrolled for and interdicted filibusters, citizens from the United States engaging in private military actions in a foreign country.

The third FORWARD (1925 - 1947) led a varied career, which began as a 100-foot patrol boat designed to combat smuggling during the prohibition. FORWARD served in both the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. In March of 1933, she seized the Honduran freighter Auros with 502 sacks of liquor aboard. In 1938 FORWARD was converted to a buoy tender. On February 19, 1942 FORWARD assisted in the rescue of 18 persons from the torpedoed gasoline tanker, Pan Massachusetts.

The current USCGC FORWARD (WMEC 911) was built by Derecktor Shipyard, Middletown, Rhode Island. The keel was laid July 11, 1986, and the ship commissioned August 4, 1990.

Former Commanding Officers

CDR P. M. Stillman 1989 – 1991
CDR J. H. Morton 1991 – 1993
CDR R. J. Papp, Jr 1993 – 1995
CDR T. E. Tilghman 1995 – 1996
CDR F. X. O’Byrne, Jr 1996 – 1998
CDR M. J. Sikorski 1998 – 2000
CDR D. R. MacLeod 2000 – 2002
CDR F. M. Midgette 2002 – 2004
CDR G. J. Sanial 2004 – 2006
CDR M. W. Sibley 2006 – 2008
CDR D. W. Durham 2008 – 2010
CDR M. S. Stewart 2010 – 2012
CAPT G. D. Wisener 2012 – 2014
CDR J. J. Sundland 2014 – 2016
CDR S. J. Adler 2016 – 2018
CDR M. D. Sharp 2018 – 2020
CDR C. T. Medick 2020 – 2022
CDR S. K. Rutsch 2022 – present