Coast Guard Cutter Sherman crewmembers lay ashore during the Sherman’s decommissioning ceremony in Honolulu, Mar. 29, 2018. The Sherman was the last remaining active Coast Guard war ship to have sunk an enemy ship in combat when its crew sank a North Vietnamese naval trawler during the Vietnam War by firing eight rounds from its 5” gun in 30 seconds.

Coast Guard retires cutter Sherman after long storied legacy

The Coast Guard recently decommissioned cutter Sherman, the last remaining active U.S. warship in the USCG or Navy to have sunk an enemy vessel in combat.

Sherman, a high endurance cutter, was retired after nearly 50 years of service during a ceremony at Coast Guard Base Honolulu on March 29.

In mid-January, the 378-foot cutter returned from its final deployment, a 76-day patrol in the Bering Sea. The high endurance fleet is being phased out by national security cutters, which will soon serve as the Coast Guard’s primary long-range asset.

Sherman’s operational resume includes action in the Vietnam War, maritime law enforcement cases, living marine resource protection, illegal immigrant interdiction and humanitarian rescues.

In March 2007, a boarding team dispatched from Sherman discovered 17 metric tons of cocaine on a Panamanian flagged freighter. This seizure is still the largest individual drug bust in U.S. history with an estimated street value of $600 million.

Sherman is also one of only two USCG cutters to hold the Vietnam Service Award and only USCG cutter to hold the Combat Action Ribbon for action in the Vietnam War.

“The crewmembers who’ve served aboard Sherman have contributed immensely to protecting the American public across Sherman’s nearly 50 years of meritorious service while changing the course of history through the cutter’s combat action in Vietnam and a record-setting drug seizure,” said Vice Admiral Fred Midgette, who leads the service’s Pacific fleet as the commander of Coast Guard Pacific Area in Alameda, Calif. “The Coast Guard remains committed to protecting the American public, our security and our economic interests wherever we are called upon to serve. Recapitalizing our vessels, aircraft, boats, and infrastructure is mission critical and our highest priority to ensure we remain always ready to continue protecting our nation.”

Sherman, which was launched Sept. 3, 1968, was the sixth of 12 Hamilton class high endurance cutters built by Avondale Shipyards in New Orleans. High endurance cutters are the largest cutters, aside from the three major icebreakers and national security cutters, ever built for the Coast Guard.