Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore leaves Cordova

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore departs Cordova for her last time as it heads to the Coast Guard yard in Baltimore, MD for midlife maintenance availability on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. (Photo by Emily Mesner/The Cordova Times)

Cars lined the pull off on Orca Road, locally known as Spouses Point, while steam rose from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore as it prepared for departure.

At the first sign of movement, wives, and children wearing pajamas and puffy winter coats, unloaded from the cars as the cutter slowly began making its way out of town.

Children began waving as the 225-foot and nine-inch buoy tender approached while spouses took photos and waved alongside.

Lt. Cmdr Collin Bronson, commander of the Sycamore, stood outside and waved enthusiastically to his wife and daughter on the shore as CWO John Dudley stood next to him. Other crewmembers lined the boat and looked to shore.

The Sycamore, stationed in Cordova since July 2002, is headed to the Coast Guard yard in Baltimore, MD for midlife maintenance availability. The trip through the Panama Canal is expected to take about five weeks.

Meghan Hall, left, and Cyndy Norbryhn, right, take photos as children wave goodbye to their dads on board the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore as it departs Cordova for the last time on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. (Photo by Emily Mesner/The Cordova Times)

A new USCG cutter will be in Cordova by fall of this year.

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The Sycamore is halfway through her predicted service life of just under 40 years, although the oldest ship in the fleet, the 100-foot USCG Cutter Smilax, was commissioned in 1944, making her 75 years old. She was honored as “Queen of the Fleet” in 2011.

In 2003, the Native Village of Eyak presented the officers and crew of the Sycamore with a plaque featuring the name of the boat with an Alutiiq word, with a Prince William Sound dialect.

Nayuhta Imaq, pronounced Nay-uch-ta Eemuck, translates to “Watchman of the Sea”. The motto was created after nearly a year of discussion with elders.

On Saturday, the NVE flag that was gifted to the USCGC Sycamore during the U.S. Coast Guard Appreciation Luncheon in Sept. 2018, was hung at the bow of the vessel.

Commissioned on July 2, 2002, the Sycamore has had seven commanders including, CDR Stephen C. Rothchild, Aug. 2001-July 2002; LCDR John F. Moriarty, July 2002-Aug. 2005; LCDR Kevin P. Dunn, Aug. 2005-June 2008; LCDR James P. Houck, June 2008-June 2011; LCDR Michael R. Sarnowski, June 2011-June 2014; CDR James L. Jarnac, June 2014-June 2017; and LCDR Collin Bronson, June 2017-present.

Coastguardsmen stand outside and wave to their families who line the pull off on Orca Road as the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Sycamore departs Cordova for the last time on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. The Sycamore, stationed in Cordova since July 2002, is headed to the Coast Guard yard in Baltimore, MD for midlife maintenance availability. (Photo by Emily Mesner/The Cordova Times)
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