The United States Coast Guard Cutter STEADFAST (WMEC 623) has proudly served the people of the United States for over five decades. Commissioned in 1968, STEADFAST was homeported in St. Petersburg, Florida for her first 24 years of service. In 1992, she was decommissioned for Major Maintenance Availability (MMA) to extend her service another 25 years. Following MMA in February 1994, STEADFAST was recommissioned and homeported in Astoria, Oregon.
STEADFAST has an illustrious record. Since commissioning in 1968, she has completed over 340 Search and Rescue cases, interdicted over 1.6 million pounds of marijuana and 164,000 pounds of cocaine, seized over 80 vessels, and stopped over 3,500 undocumented migrants from entering the United States. STEADFAST was the first, and is one of only two cutters, awarded the gold marijuana leaf, symbolizing one million pounds of marijuana seized. Legend holds STEADFAST was named “El Tiburon Blanco” (Spanish for “The White Shark”) by Caribbean drug smugglers in the 1970’s for being such a nemesis to their illegal drug operations. To this day, the crew uses the symbol of “El Tiburon Blanco” as one of their logos to epitomize STEADFAST’s assertive law enforcement posture.
STEADFAST is a multi-mission platform and is under the Operational Command of the Coast Guard Pacific Area Commander. As a Coast Guard resource, STEADFAST deploys in support of Coast Guard Districts 11 and 13 as well as Joint Inter-Agency Task Force South (JIATF-S). During deployments, STEADFAST patrols along the western seaboard of the United States, Mexico and North and Central America conducting search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, living marine resource protection, and Homeland Defense operations.
In her years of service, STEADFAST has been awarded the Coast Guard Special Operations Service Ribbons for Campaign Caper Focus and for Operation Martillo, 8 Coast Guard Excellence Ribbons, 5 Coast Guard Unit Commendation Awards, and 4 Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendations. In July 2019, STEADFAST broke the record for the most cocaine seized during a single deployment among all 15 cutters of her same class and size.