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CGC Resolute #18 World's Oldest Active Military Ship - Cruising Earth

CGC Resolute United States Coast Guard

CGC Resolute - United States Coast Guard
#18 World's Oldest Active Military Ship

CGC Resolute is currently ranked #18 in the list of the World's Oldest Active Military Ships.

  • 18

    In Service:
    (58 Years of Service)
    Ship Statistics
    In Service: December 08, 1966
    Weight: 1,145 Gross Tons
    Length: 210.50 Feet
    Beam: 34.00 Feet
    Speed: 18.0 knots / 20.7 mph
    Complement: 75
    Track CGC Resolute

CGC Resolute Historical Brief


The United States Coast Guard Cutter (USCGC) Resolute (WMEC-620) is a renowned vessel with a rich history of service. As a Reliance-class medium endurance cutter, Resolute has played a significant role in law enforcement, search and rescue (SAR), environmental protection, and homeland security. This historical brief provides an in-depth overview of the ship’s construction, operational history, notable missions, and its lasting significance within the Coast Guard fleet.

Construction and Design

The USCGC Resolute was constructed by the Todd Shipyards Corporation in Houston, Texas. The keel was laid down on May 10, 1965, and the vessel was launched on November 23, 1966. The cutter was officially commissioned into service on December 8, 1966. As part of the Reliance-class, Resolute was designed for multi-mission capabilities, ensuring it could perform a wide range of operations in various maritime conditions.

Equipped with advanced navigation, communication, and surveillance systems, Resolute was built to handle diverse missions. Its armament includes a 76mm OTO Melara gun mount, small arms, and advanced sensors for law enforcement and SAR operations. The vessel's design incorporates a robust steel hull, providing durability and seaworthiness essential for extended maritime operations.

Operational History

Early Years and Missions

Upon commissioning, Resolute was initially homeported in San Francisco, California. During its early years, Resolute’s primary missions included SAR operations, maritime law enforcement, and fisheries protection along the Pacific coast. The cutter’s advanced capabilities allowed it to effectively monitor and enforce federal laws in the region’s vast and often challenging maritime environment.

Law Enforcement and Drug Interdiction

Resolute has been a key asset in the Coast Guard’s law enforcement and drug interdiction efforts. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the cutter was frequently deployed to intercept drug smuggling vessels in the Caribbean and Eastern Pacific regions. These missions were crucial in combatting the influx of narcotics into the United States.

One of the most notable drug interdiction successes came in 1999 when Resolute intercepted the vessel “Mr. Mule” carrying over 10 tons of cocaine. This operation was one of the largest cocaine seizures in Coast Guard history at the time and highlighted the cutter’s significant role in drug interdiction efforts.

Search and Rescue Operations

Search and rescue operations have always been a core mission for Resolute. The cutter has responded to numerous distress calls and has been instrumental in rescuing mariners in peril. One notable SAR mission occurred in 2001 when Resolute rescued the crew of the fishing vessel “Arctic Rose,” which had sunk in the Bering Sea. Despite harsh weather conditions, the cutter’s crew demonstrated exceptional skill and bravery in executing the rescue operation.

Notable Missions and Deployments

Operation Able Sentry

In the early 1990s, Resolute was deployed as part of Operation Able Sentry, a multi-national effort to enforce United Nations sanctions against Haiti. The cutter’s mission included intercepting vessels attempting to smuggle goods and people into and out of Haiti. Resolute’s participation in this operation showcased its versatility and capability to support international peacekeeping efforts.

Counter-Trafficking Efforts

In recent years, Resolute has continued to play a significant role in counter-trafficking operations. The cutter’s advanced technology and skilled crew have been crucial in intercepting drug-laden vessels, including go-fast boats and semi-submersibles. These operations often involve complex, high-risk maneuvers, showcasing the cutter’s agility and the crew’s expertise.

Environmental Protection

Resolute has also been a key player in environmental protection efforts. The cutter has conducted numerous missions to enforce fisheries regulations, prevent illegal fishing activities, and protect marine resources. Additionally, Resolute has been involved in pollution response operations, mitigating the impact of oil spills and other hazardous incidents on the marine environment.

Modernization and Upgrades

To maintain its operational effectiveness, Resolute has undergone several modernization and upgrade programs. These efforts have included enhancements to its communication systems, navigation equipment, and propulsion systems. The upgrades ensure that Resolute remains capable of performing its diverse missions and extends the cutter’s service life.

In recent years, the cutter has received state-of-the-art surveillance and detection equipment, bolstering its capabilities in drug interdiction and maritime security operations. The modernization efforts reflect the Coast Guard’s commitment to maintaining a fleet capable of addressing contemporary maritime challenges.

Strategic Importance

Homeland Security

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Resolute’s mission expanded to include homeland security operations. The cutter has been deployed to patrol and secure critical maritime infrastructure, such as ports and waterways, against potential terrorist threats. These missions are crucial in ensuring the safety and security of the United States’ maritime borders.

Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief

Resolute has also been deployed for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions. Following natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, the cutter has provided vital aid, including medical supplies, food, and logistical support to affected communities. These missions underscore the Coast Guard’s broader commitment to humanitarian efforts and the cutter’s ability to adapt to diverse operational requirements.

Legacy and Impact

The USCGC Resolute has earned a distinguished reputation within the Coast Guard fleet. Its contributions to law enforcement, SAR missions, environmental protection, and homeland security have had a lasting impact on national and maritime security. The cutter’s storied history is a testament to the dedication and professionalism of its crew.

Resolute’s enduring legacy is reflected in its numerous awards and commendations, including the Coast Guard Unit Commendation and the Meritorious Unit Commendation. These honors recognize the cutter’s exceptional performance and the significant role it has played in fulfilling the Coast Guard’s mission.


The USCGC Resolute (WMEC-620) stands as a testament to the Coast Guard’s commitment to maritime safety, security, and environmental stewardship. Since its commissioning in 1966, Resolute has demonstrated exceptional versatility and capability across a wide range of missions. From drug interdiction and law enforcement to search and rescue and environmental protection, the cutter has been a vital asset in protecting America’s maritime interests.

As Resolute continues to serve, it remains a symbol of the Coast Guard’s dedication to safeguarding lives, enforcing laws, and preserving the marine environment. The cutter’s storied history and enduring contributions underscore its significance within the Coast Guard fleet and its role in promoting maritime security and safety.

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