The Coast Guard commissioned the 22nd fast-response cutter into the fleet at a ceremony in Juneau, Alaska on June 14. Coast Guard Foundation board members Cherrie D. Felder and Robert Montgomery presented the crew with a $5,000 gift for their morale fund during the ceremony.
The Bailey Barco is the second fast response cutter to be commissioning in Alaska this year. Bailey Barco will be harbored in Coast Guard Base Ketchikan alongside the Coast Guard Cutter John McCormick which was commissioned in April.
The 154-foot vessel is designed to patrol coastal regions and features advanced command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment. The Bailey Barco is the latest vessel in the Coast Guard’s continuing fleet modernization efforts and will conduct law enforcement, search and rescue, environmental protection, and homeland security tasks.
All fast response cutters are named after a Coast Guard hero with this vessel honoring Bailey Barco who saved five during a rescue on December 21, 1900. Barco received the Gold Lifesaving Medal on October 7, 1901 for his heroic actions in response to a vessel running aground in a severe storm off the coast of Virginia Beach.
From the official U.S. Coast Guard history on Bailey Barco:
“Upon notification of the grounding, the Dam Neck Station Life-Saving Station keeper, Bailey T. Barco proceeded to the scene and took command. Realizing the use of the surfboat was dangerous, if not impossible, Barco directed the assembling of the beach apparatus and soon a breeches buoy had delivered all but one of the survivors to safety.
“The last victim was so numbed by the cold that he could not help himself. After an unsuccessful effort by one of the members of the Dam Neck Hills Station to ride the breeches buoy out and help the man, Barco decided to take the surfboat out to the wreck and attempt to put two men aboard Jennie Hall. Following several ill-fated attempts, Barco, as boat coxswain, and his volunteer crew launched the surfboat and put two of the crew aboard the rapidly disintegrating ship.
"Despite turbulent and freezing seas, he kept the surfboat under oars until one of his own crew was washed overboard. Quickly recovering the man, Barco guided the surfboat back to the beach.
"The helpless crewman of Jennie Hall and the two volunteers who had been put aboard the wreck were then brought safely to the beach by the breeches buoy. Bailey Barco’s exemplary courage, fortitude and initiative in this valiant rescue reflected the highest honor upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Life-Saving Service."