DEPENDABLE has called many ports home. For the first 23 years of service, the ship was stationed in Panama City, Florida, before moving to Galveston, Texas, in January 1992. DEPENDABLE relocated to Portsmouth, Virginia, in August 1997, and then moved to Cape May, New Jersey, in August 2000. In 2016, the cutter transferred from Cape May to the current homeport of Little Creek, Virginia.
Throughout the cutter's commissioned career, DEPENDABLE has conducted missions from the Colombian basin in the Caribbean to Canadian waters in the North Atlantic. These missions include DEPENDABLE's very successful history of drug interdiction. In 1978, DEPENDABLE alone interdicted 15% of the marijuana seized by the entire Coast Guard, the largest being 120 tons taken off the M/V Heidi. DEPENDABLE received national recognition on August 23rd, 1981, for seizing 9 tons of marijuana from the F/V Sea King. Successful counter narcotics operations continued with DEPENDABLE earning the Golden Marijuana Leaf, representing over one million pounds of marijuana seized and reportedly garnering the nickname among drug runners of "The Scourge of the Caribbean." In September 2013, DEPENDABLE made the biggest drug bust in the history of the First Coast Guard District, worth $20 million.
DEPENDABLE's operational career was interrupted twice--once for Major Maintenance Availability in 1995, and again for the Mission Effectiveness Project (MEP) in 2005. In 2007, DEPENDABLE became the first cutter in the class to complete the MEP overhaul. These two major overhauls upgraded selected systems and equipment, adding many additional years to the ship's service life.
DEPENDABLE's other missions include domestic and international fisheries law enforcement, humanitarian response, and search and rescue. Embarked with an HH-52 helicopter, DEPENDABLE played a vital role in the 1980 Cuban Exodus response effort (also known as the Mariel Boatlift) earning a unit Humanitarian Service Medal. DEPENDABLE was one of the first cutters to respond to the Haiti Earthquake in January 2010. The cutter patrolled the Haitian coast, repatriating the first 78 migrants interdicted at sea, and earning DEPENDABLE the Armed Service's Medal for the unit's part in the response effort. DEPENDABLE completed several patrols in support of operations "Atlantic Venture" and "Ocean Hunter," completing at-sea inspections of fishing vessels in support of federal living marine resource regulations.
In over fifty years of distinguished service, DEPENDABLE earned many honors and awards in addition to recognition for the 1980 Cuban Exodus and 2010 Haitian Earthquake. These include several Coast Guard Unit Commendations, nearly half-a-dozen Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendations, and countless Coast Guard "E" ribbons representing superior operational readiness.
Source: William H. Thiesen, Ph.D., Coast Guard Atlantic Area Historian.