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Coast Guard Cutter ‘Mako’ Celebrates 26 Years of Service

Auxiliarist Michael Slepian
The CGC Mako at full dress for the Recognition Ceremony at Station Cape May., U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

The United States Coast Guard held a recognition ceremony at Station Cape May on May 28, 2024, to honor the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mako (WPB-87303) and recognize its 26 years of service. The ceremony was presided over by BMCM Matthew Graziani, commanding officer of the Mako, and Captain Kate Higgins-Bloom, U.S. Coast Guard Commander, USCG Sector Delaware Bay. The ceremony served to celebrate the Mako’s contributions to the service and Nation in the presence of cutter leadership, current and former crew members, Auxiliarists, families, and friends.

The event also marked the ship’s exit from active-duty service. The 87-foot Mako operated as a Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay asset, homeported at Station Cape May. The primary missions of the Marine Protector class boats include search and rescue, law enforcement, ports, waterways, and coastal security. In addition to Search and Rescue missions, Mako enforced fishery laws and provided security for the President during his visits to his home in Delaware. During the recent Francis Scott Key bridge disaster, Mako was “first on scene” to perform Search and Rescue and other critical duties.

In addition to the cutter Mako, response boat crews from Coast Guard stations Curtis Bay and Annapolis deployed to the scene for active search and rescue. A Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew as well as Coast Guard investigators and pollution responders were also directed to the site of the incident.

A plaque was presented to BMCM Graziani by Coast Guard Auxiliarist Sandra Dalton, to commemorate Mako’s immediate response to the Francis Scott Key Bridge disaster. A Coast Guard Commendation Medal was awarded to Master Chief Graziani for outstanding achievement while serving as the Officer-in-Charge of the CGC Mako from May 2022 to June 2024. In addition to the ship’s crew, many Auxiliarists also attended the recognition ceremony. The Auxiliarists in attendance are qualified and have served as in-port OOD watch-standers onboard the Mako while docked at Station Cape May. The ceremony for Mako acknowledged a job well done for an illustrious 26 years of service. The event concluded with lunch served at the Harbor View Club at Training Center Cape May.

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