CHARLESTON, S.C. — After 45 years serving the nation, the American flag was lowered down for the last time on the Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin on Wednesday, and the vessel was transferred to the Nigerian Navy in a ceremony full of naval pomp.
“It is with a heavy heart that this vessel will no longer sail with our nation’s fleet of high endurance cutters,” said Coast Guard Rear Adm. Bruce Baffer. But he added the Gallatin, now renamed the NNS Okpabana, will see important service off the coast of the African nation.
“Our two countries are united in a common goal of peace,” Baffer said, before the Gallatin crew left the vessel for the last time and the American flag was lowered. The Gallatin, transferred under the Excess Defense Article Program, is the second cutter transferred to Nigeria in three years.
We toured the Gallatin’s Seattle based sister ship USCGC Mellon back in ’83 or ’84. The Hamilton class cutters have provided sterling service to our nation for decades, and it is nice to see the Gallatin will continue to serve, even if under a different flag.
On a technical note, the Hamiltons were the first large ships in US service with gas turbine power. The success of their CODOG plant and controllable reversible pitch propellers helped the Navy to decide that the Spruance class destroyers would have a COGAG plant with CRP props.