After 45 years of service to the U.S. Coast Guard, former Coast Guard Cutter Dallas is now a part of the Philippine Navy. The venerable 378-foot High Endurance Cutter was transferred to the Philippines during a ceremony on May 22, 2012, at the former naval base in Charleston, S.C.
More than 30 years after he served aboard the Dallas as an ensign, Coast Guard Assistant Commandant for Acquisition Rear Adm. John Korn was the service’s presiding official to sign the ship over to the Philippines.
“It’s a bittersweet day. It’s with sadness that we decommission a ship that has served us so faithfully,” Korn said at the ceremony. “I have mixed emotions while we do this. We are getting new assets to replace this classic cutter, so we’re very excited about that. I served aboard this cutter my first year out of the Coast Guard Academy in 1979, so I have some feelings for this ship.”
There were roughly 100 people in attendance for the transfer ceremony, including Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Gen. Jessie Dellosa, who formally accepted delivery of the Dallas, as well as Rear Adm. Jose Luis Alano, the commander of the Philippine Fleet, and Philippine Navy Capt. Ernesto Baldovino, who will be the ship’s new commanding officer.
Under Philippine ownership, the vessel will be re-christened the BRP Ramon Alcaraz after Commodore Ramon Alcaraz, a Filipino naval officer who captained a motor torpedo boat during World War II that took down three Japanese fighter planes. Following engine work, the vessel is expected to depart U.S. waters later this summer and arrive at its new Philippine home later this year.
Commissioned in 1967, the Dallas participated in combat patrols off Vietnam and was the command vessel for the Mariel boatlift in 1980, during which 125,000 Cuban refugees set sail for Florida. The Dallas was also the on-scene command ship for search and recovery efforts following the 1986 explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger. The Dallas was dispatched to African and European waters and participated in drug patrols in both the Pacific and the Caribbean, seizing 18,000 pounds of cocaine and marijuana during its Coast Guard service.
After decommissioning earlier this year, the Dallas was considered an Excess Defense Article (EDA) and was transferred to the Philippines under the U.S. Department of Defense’s EDA program, which offers U.S. assets declared excess to foreign partners in support of U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives. The U.S. Department of State approved the Coast Guard’s recommendation to transfer the cutter gratis, saving the service approximately $10 million in disposal costs. High Endurance Cutters, which have been in service since the 1960s, are being replaced by 418-foot National Security Cutters, the largest and most technologically advanced of the Coast Guard’s newest classes of cutters. For more information on the Coast Guard’s international acquisition programs, please visit http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/international/.