JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C –
For the first time in more than 20 years Joint Base Charleston - Weapons Station, conducted an ammunition on-load for a service combatant vessel.
The USCGC Hamilton (WMSL 753) received 13 pallets of various ordinance on April 4, 2016. No other ship has conducted this evolution since the USS Santa Barbra (AE 28) was homeported at the WS in the mid 1990's.
"We are here this morning to on-load all major mount ammunition in support of defense readiness mission where we demonstrate the capability work close alongside the Navy," said Ltjg. David Endean law enforcement officer and gunnery officer.
Until now the Coast Guard had been using Naval Station Mayport, Fl. This was their first time mooring and on-loading ammunition in Charleston.
"For us it's wonderful because we homeported only a couple miles south of here. It's an easy transit up the river, which makes it a lot more convenient for us," said Endean. "We keep ammunition onboard whether we are in port or underway. We always have major caliber ammunition onboard because our normal mission is counter narcotics/human trafficking and we need to be prepared to defend the ship at any time."
Hamilton's primary missions include law enforcement (alien migrant interdiction operations, counter narcotics and living marine resources), search and rescue, defense operations and homeland security.
"JB Charleston - WS is very convenient for the cutters stationed here. It allows us to discuss the ammo on-loads prior to mooring up at the facility. The services provided at the WS have been top notch. The ammo handling operation the other day was fast, safe and conducted professionally," Said Ens. Brittany Zirulnick public affairs officer.
Recently, the USCG has increased its presence in Charleston with the establishment of USCG Base Charleston and the homeporting of two USCG National Security Cutters (HAMILTON and JAMES). Additionally, the USCG is looking to homeport 270 new off-shore patrol craft here as well.