Wednesday, July 10, 2019
The Coast Guard Cutter Midgett, which left the shipyard in June and had not yet been commissioned, was transiting off North Carolina when the Coast Guard learned of a 70-year-old man in need of assistance aboard a 62-foot disabled sailboat, 50 miles east of Cape Hatteras, Saturday evening.
“It was fortunate that a pre-commissioned Coast Guard cutter was the closest vessel and could be involved with its first search and rescue case, staying with the sailboat until a mission ready cutter arrived,” said Chief Petty Officer Ryan Langley, a watchstander at the 5th District. “The situation could have gotten worse overnight Saturday; the sailor hadn’t slept much, he was pretty far offshore and didn’t have navigation lights.”
Watchstanders at the Coast Guard’s 5th District command center received the initial notification that the sailboat lost power and subsequently had no navigation lights. Personnel found that the pre-commissioned Coast Guard Cutter Midgett was 20 miles away and coordinated their response, as well as deploying the Coast Guard Cutter Nathan Bruckenthal to tow the sailboat.
The Midgett’s crew assisted the man by lowering the boat’s sails and preparing it for tow. They remained on scene until the Bruckenthal arrived.
Sunday, the Bruckenthal crew took the sailboat into Cape Henry, Virginia, where the tow was transferred to commercial salvage and delivered to Cobb’s Marina.
The vessel, in the Legend class, is named to honor Capt. John Allen Midgett Jr., who commanded the U.S. Coast Guard crew in the famed Mirlo rescue, and the many members of the Midgett family who have served in the U.S. Coast Guard and its predecessor services. At least 10 members of the Midgett family earned high honors from the U.S. Coast Guard for heroic lifesaving deeds. Seven Midgett family members were awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal, the U.S. Coast Guard’s highest award for saving a life, and three were awarded the Silver Lifesaving Medal.
The ship’s sponsor is Jazania H. O’Neal, the granddaughter of Capt. John Allen Midgett Jr. O’Neal christened the vessel Dec. 11, 2017. On Saturday, Aug. 25, she will attend the official commissioning ceremony in Honolulu.
The new vessel is the largest active high-endurance patrol cutter in the U.S. Coast Guard fleet. It is the United States Coast Guard’s newest National Security Cutter and includes launch and recovery areas for rigid hull inflatable boats and a flight deck for manned and unmanned rotary wing aircraft. It is the most technologically advanced cutter of the U.S. Coast Guard. The vessel was built by Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Miss.
The Midgett will be docked beside the USS Wisconsin at Nauticus on Waterside Drive, Norfolk. The visit has been arranged by the U.S. Coast Guard before the Midgett is permanently stationed in the Pacific.