USS Firebolt (PC 10) crewmembers marked the end of the patrol coastal ship’s U.S. Navy service during a decommissioning ceremony Feb. 23 at Naval Support Activity Bahrain. USS Firebolt (PC-10) is the 10th member of the Cyclone class of coastal patrol boats of the United States Navy. The nearly 27-year-old ship was one of 10 patrol craft currently forward-deployed to the Middle East in support of regional maritime security operations. Firebolt commissioned in June 1995 and began conducting routine coastal patrol operations under U.S. 5th Fleet in 2003. Prior to operating from Bahrain, the ship helped secure New York City’s harbor immediately following the terrorist attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.
Months later, Firebolt conducted coastal patrols in the Arabian Gulf during Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2004, two Firebolt Sailors and a Coast Guardsman were killed as Firebolt provided security for the Khawr Al Amaya Oil Terminal in the Northern Arabian Gulf. After spotting a suspicious vessel, Firebolt deployed a rigid-hull inflatable boat and the suspicious vessel exploded in an apparent suicide attack. Firebolt has conducted several major rescue operations during its storied service. In 2005, the ship’s crew rescued 89 people off the coast of Somalia after their boat sank. Additionally, Firebolt rescued an Iranian mariner from a capsized fishing vessel in 2012.
During the decommissioning ceremony, Lt. Cmdr. Raymond W. Miller, Firebolt’s commanding officer, expressed appreciation for his team. “They’ve proven their dedication to mission success over and over again. They’ve never let me or each other down,” said Miller.
“The crew is what makes Firebolt special to me. The history behind Firebolt makes everything we do more meaningful,” said Senior Chief Engineman Paul Dixon, who completed two tours aboard Firebolt.
“We have so many memories here. We would be here working late hours in engineering, but still smiling and joking. It’s stuff like that that’s irreplaceable,” said Machinist’s Mate 3rd Class Pedro Benitez. “.”
USS Firebolt (PC-10) is a 174 ft (53 m) vessel with a crew of approximately 30 sailors, normally homeported at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Norfolk, Virginia. Her armament includes two Mk38 chain guns, two Mk19 automatic grenade launchers, and two .50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns, as well as six Stinger missiles. She was laid down by Bollinger Shipyards on 17 September 1993, launched on 10 June 1994 and commissioned into the Navy on 10 June 1995. Most of these ships were launched between 1992 and 1994. The primary mission of these ships is coastal patrol and interdiction surveillance, an important aspect of littoral operations outlined in the Navy’s strategy, “Forward…From the Sea.” These ships also provide full mission support for U.S. Navy SEALs and other special operations forces.