On a beautiful spring morning in the harbor at Charleston, a ship whose crew has apprehended $450 million of illegal drugs, assisted with Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, and rescued thousands of migrants was decommissioned by the U.S. Coast Guard and handed over to the Nigerian government.
More than 500 persons, including 100 past crew members and their families, came from around the U.S. to honor the Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin and the servicemen and women who have served on the ship.
The program noted the decommissioning ceremony "is as joyous as it is somber...[held] in recognition of the lives lost in pursuit of a greater nation and of the exhaustive efforts to maintain safety and security on the high seas."
The Gallatin served as command center for Hurricane Sandy recovery operations in New York Harbor in 2012, rescued and coordinated the 1994 rescue or coordination of 27,000 Cuban migrants in a one-month period, rescued 106 Haitians from a sinking sailboat in 1982, interdicted more than 50 tons of cocaine and marijuana and, on the final patrol, seized 1,016 kilos of cocaine worth more than $30 million.
The ship was named for Albert Gallatin (1761-1849), the longest-serving secretary of the U.S. Treasury, a member of the cabinet of President Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) and President James Madison (1751-1836). Mr. Gallatin founded what is now New York University, and a statue of him stands in front of the U.S. Treasury Building in Washington on Pennsylvania Avenue.