The first cutter RESOLUTE was a top-sail schooner built and commissioned in 1867 for the Revenue Cutter Service. This first RESOLUTE was home- ported in Key West, Florida, and took on the missions of smuggling interdiction and search and rescue.
The current cutter RESOLUTE is very different in size and construction but the missions remain the same. The RESOLUTE was the first of her class to be powered by two 16-cylinder 2,550 horsepower Alco 251B Diesel engines. RESOLUTE’s keel was laid at the United States Coast Guard Yard, Curtis Bay, Maryland, in May 1965, and she was commissioned on December 8, 1966. Since that time she has seen several different homeports including San Francisco, California; Alameda, California; Astoria, Oregon; and her current home port of St. Petersburg, Florida.
In 1981, RESOLUTE extinguished a fire aboard the tug DeFelice alongside a San Francisco fuel pier. Two RESOLUTE crewmembers entered the burning tug and retrieved her injured occupants. Several members of RESOLUTE’s crew were injured during this operation while they fought desperately to save the vessel and crew. In 1986, after successfully completing hundreds of SAR cases and fisheries boardings, RESOLUTE saw her first drug bust. The seizure of the M/V Pamnico and the arrest of the vessel's crew resulted in the interdiction of over 20,000 lb of marijuana headed for the streets of the United States.
During her tour of duty in Astoria, Oregon, RESOLUTE was called to assist vessels in distress on numerous occasions; however, RESOLUTE’s primary calling was patrolling U.S. fishery protection zones. RESOLUTE also participated in the response to the Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster in Alaska.
RESOLUTE was decommissioned at the United States Coast Guard Yard in 1994 for a major refurbishment. Now re-commissioned, she continues to meet diverse challenges off the Southeast United States and in the Caribbean Sea.RESOLUTE’s mission now focuses on drug and migrant interdiction in the Straits of Florida and throughout the Caribbean Sea. In the summer of 2010, Resolute participated in the response to the Deep Water Horizon oil spill, performing duties as Command Task Unit and the Coast Guard’s media
platform to communicate the service’s response to the world.
In 2014-16 RESOLUTE was on the front line of national counter drug, search and rescue as well as alien migration interdiction operations. The ship deployed nearly 250 days in support of Western Hemisphere security operating from the Greater Antilles to the Panama Canal and closer to home in the Straits of Florida. RESOLUTE combined her capabilities with military aircraft as well as patrol boats to disrupt and interdict 6600 kilograms of narcotics and detain 11 smugglers. These operational achievements have a direct impact on Transnational Organized Crime networks operating with impunity throughout the Central American region which threaten the stability of governments and undermine rule of law.
Over the course of four patrols, RESOLUTE and her crew interdicted, cared for and helped repatriate 856 undocumented Haitian and Cuban migrants embarked on manifestly unsafe voyages. In March 2015, RESOLUTE responded to eight Cuban migrants stranded for four days on an elevated cliff of Isla Monito, a small inaccessible island West of Puerto Rico. The ship arrived on scene with one hour of day light remaining and provided provisions to the stranded migrants hiding in a cave 15 foot above the waterline. Using innovation and teamwork, RESOLUTEs two small boats positioned below the cliffs while an H-65 Helicopter deployed swimmers into the water. The crews moved into turbulent conditions and rescued each migrant from the water as they dove from the cliff to the safety of rescue swimmers. This case was cited as one of the most difficult cliff extractions in this southern geography.
RESOLUTE rescued an additional 200 migrants from perilous conditions. In October 2015, the ship encountered an overloaded Haitian 40 foot sailing vessel at night with severely compromised stability. Over the course of seven hours the crew offloaded 165 migrants from the vessel making more than two dozen trips in the building seas. In January 2016, RESOLUTE again encountered a distressed vessel in gale force winds and 13 foot seas. Applying remarkable skill and stamina the crew launched the cutter boat in position to safely rescue 35 migrants from a small disabled raft, adrift and taking on water. The entire crew was recognized for meritorious performance by the Seventh District Commander.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Joaquin, RESOLUTE responded to the disappearance of Motor Vessel El Faro in the Bahamas, a rare modern day maritime disaster. After traveling more than 600 nautical miles in 48 hours, RESOLUTE arrived on scene and searched continuously for five days with three other ships, commercial tugs as well as highly capable military and interagency aircraft. While no survivors were located, the collective efforts of all resources provided assurance that every searchable square mile was saturated.