CGC SHERMAN’s keel was laid on 25 January 1967 at Avondale Shipyards in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was launched on 23 September of the same year and was commissioned on 3 September 1968.
The cutter is named for John Sherman, the 19th century statesman who served as Secretary of Treasury under President Rutherford B. Hayes and is responsible for the Sherman Anti-trust Act of 1890. Mr. Sherman also served as Secretary of State during the McKinley Administration and spent a total of 37 years in Congress as a senator and representative from Ohio.
CGC SHERMAN was originally homeported in Boston, Massachusetts where her primary mission was ocean station patrol in the North Atlantic. However, in 1970, SHERMAN was assigned to Coast Guard Squadron Three in Vietnam. Her tasking during the conflict was primarily in support of Operation Market Time, which involved sorting through hundreds of small vessels off the Vietnamese coast in search of enemy weapons smugglers. SHERMAN’s crew inspected some 900 vessels during her 10-month tour in Southeast Asia. The old 5” gun (now replaced by a 76mm mount) answered 152 calls for naval gunfire support, including a running fight on the night of 21 November 1970 which resulted in sinking the North Vietnamese armed freighter “SL-3,” which was carrying tons of enemy munitions.
In 1971, SHERMAN returned to Boston. With satellite technology reducing the need for ocean station patrols and amid concern of the rising American drug problem, the emphasis shifted to drug interdiction. In October 1976, SHERMAN seized the 275-foot Panamanian freighter Don Emilio and confiscated 82 tons of marijuana, the largest drug seizure in history at the time. Responding to a need for greater operational resources in the Pacific, SHERMAN was transferred to her next homeport in Alameda, California in May 1979. SHERMAN’s primary missions shifted to Alaskan Patrols (ALPAT) involving fisheries law enforcement (LE), drug interdiction, search and rescue (SAR), and military readiness in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. SHERMAN was decommissioned from May 1986 until July 1989 to complete a 3-year Fleet Renovation and Modernization (FRAM) project at Todd Shipyard in Seattle, Washington. The project upgraded SHERMAN’s weapons, communications, aviation and other operating systems and completely renovated crew living and berthing spaces. SHERMAN completed ready-for-sea trials in July 1990 and once again commenced operational missions in the Pacific.
In July 2001, SHERMAN became the first Coast Guard cutter to circumnavigate the world after conducting U.N. sanctions enforcement duty in the Persian Gulf and goodwill projects in Madagascar, South Africa, and Cape Verde. In May 2006, the cutter participated with a U.S. Navy task group during a 5-month deployment to Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines. In March 2007, SHERMAN received world-wide attention when her boarding team discovered more than 17 metric tons of cocaine aboard the Panamanian freighter Gatun, a record seizure in the Eastern Pacific. SHERMAN was awarded the “Golden Eagle” award by the White House Drug Czar for combined interdiction successes during 2007.
In May 2011, SHERMAN was transferred to San Diego, California before being relocated in May 2015 to her current homeport of Honolulu, Hawaii.
SHERMAN has continued her operational successes by accomplishing three drug interdiction deployments in the Eastern Pacific, a winter Alaskan patrol in the Bering Sea to enforce U.S. fisheries regulations and provide search-and-rescue support during the Alaskan red king crab harvest, and by earning the Pacific Area Operational Readiness Award. Marking her 40th anniversary since initial commissioning, SHERMAN’s crew has worked with pride to maintain the cutter’s readiness and improve her material condition and habitability. Their devotion and commitment to SHERMAN will ensure she remains true to her motto “One ship, one crew” in the years to come.