USCGC RELIANCE (WMEC 615)
"First in the Fleet"
The first Cutter named RELIANCE was a tugboat that served from 1861 to 1865. Purchased for $9000 and homeported out of Baltimore MD, she primarily operated as a blockade ship in Chesapeake Bay during the Civil War. On occasion she also served as an escort and a troop transport for Union landing parties.
A topsail schooner was the second vessel to be named RELIANCE. Built in Maryland, specifically for the Coast Guard, she was commissioned in June, 1867. Soon after commissioning, she set sail for San Francisco where she made preparations for deployment to her homeport of Sitka Alaska. She was the third cutter deployed to the new territory for Law enforcement purposes, a mission she continued to accomplish until decommissioned and sold in 1875.
The third RELIANCE was a 125' cutter, commissioned in 1927 during the Prohibition period, she was assigned to Coast Guard Base Long Island NY. As part of the Offshore Patrol Force her duty was to enforce the laws of the time and assist in the Coast Guard "war" against alcohol smuggling. After the 18th Amendment was repealed, RELIANCE was detailed to Norfolk, VA. As one of the first Coast Guard Cutters to see action in the Pacific Theatre during WWII, she was present during the raid on Pearl Harbor HI December 7, 1941. In an effort to defend her country's honor she fired on enemy forces until the enemy retreated. She continued to patrol the waters of Hawaii until her decommissioning in 1947.
Today's RELIANCE is the first of the 210' Medium Endurance Cutter Fleet. The RELIANCE was stationed in Corpus Christi after being commissioned in Galveston in 1964, she was in Corpus Christi until 1975. She was built by Todd Shipyards. Her duties included offshore oil rig inspections, fisheries and marine pollution patrols and of course, Search and Rescue. RELIANCE has been homeported in Yorktown, VA, Port Canaveral FL, and New Castle NH, Portsmouth NH, Kittery ME, and Pensacola FL. Presently based out Pensacola, FL at Naval Air Station Pensacola, RELIANCE patrols the Atlantic from the eastern coast of Canada to the northern tip of South America. Her many duties include the enforcement of laws and treaties, fisheries, migrant interdiction, drug interdiction, safety inspections, and search and rescue.