USCGC Sherman WHEC-720 Vietnam War.jpg
USCGC Sherman (WHEC-720) in 1969
 United States
Name: USCGC Sherman (WHEC-720)
Namesake: John Sherman
Builder: Avondale Shipyards
Laid down: January 25, 1967
Launched: September 3, 1968
Decommissioned: May 1986
Recommissioned: July 1989
Decommissioned: March 29, 2018
Homeport: Honolulu, HI
  • Honorus et Fides
  • ("Honorable and Faithful")
Honors and
Golden Eagle award by White House Drug Czar
Fate: Decommissioned; transferred to Sri Lanka
Notes: In July 2001, Sherman became the first Coast Guard cutter to circumnavigate the world.
  • USCGC Sherman shield.jpg
  • Crest of the USCGC Sherman
General characteristics
Displacement: 3,250 tons
Length: 378 ft (115 m)
Beam: 43 ft (13 m)
Draft: 15 ft (4.6 m)
Speed: 29 knots
Range: 14,000 miles
Endurance: 45 days
Complement: 167 personnel
Sensors and
processing systems:
AN/SPS-40 air-search radar
Logbook USCG Sherman November 1970
USCGC Sherman in 2006.

SLNS Gajabahu (P626) is an Offshore Patrol Vessel of the Sri Lanka Navy. Formerly, it was USCGC Sherman (WHEC-720) a United States Coast Guard Hamilton-class high endurance cutter named for John Sherman, the 32nd United States Secretary of the Treasury and author of the Sherman Antitrust Act.[1]

Sherman was involved in search and rescue efforts following the sinking of F/V Big Valley near Saint Paul Island, Alaska, on January 15, 2005.[2]

On March 17, 2007 Sherman stopped the Panamanian motor vessel Gatun about 20 miles off a Panamanian island. Gatun was loaded with 20 tons of cocaine with an estimated retail street value of $600 million. The seizure was the largest drug bust in US history and the largest interdiction at sea.[3]


CGC Sherman's keel was laid on January 25, 1967 at Avondale Shipyards in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was launched on September 3, 1968.[1]

CGC Sherman was originally homeported in Boston, Massachusetts where her primary mission was ocean station patrol in the North Atlantic.

In 1970, Sherman was assigned to Coast Guard Squadron Three in Vietnam. Her tasking during the conflict was primarily in support of Operation Market Time, which involved sorting through hundreds of small vessels off the Vietnamese coast in search of enemy weapons smugglers. Sherman's crew inspected some 900 vessels during her 10-month tour in Southeast Asia. The old 5" gun (now replaced by a 76mm mount) answered 152 calls for naval gunfire support, including a running fight on the night of 21 November 1970 which resulted in sinking the North Vietnamese armed freighter SL-3, which was carrying tons of enemy munitions.[1]

In 1971, Sherman returned to Boston. With satellite technology reducing the need for ocean station patrols and amid concern of the rising American drug problem, the emphasis shifted to drug interdiction. In October 1976, Sherman seized the 275-foot Panamanian freighter Don Emilio and confiscated 82 tons of marijuana, the largest drug seizure in history at the time. Responding to a need for greater operational resources in the Pacific, Sherman was transferred to her next homeport in Alameda, California in May 1979. Sherman's primary missions shifted to Alaskan Patrols (ALPAT) involving fisheries law enforcement (LE), drug interdiction, search and rescue (SAR), and military readiness in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. Sherman was decommissioned from May 1986 until July 1989 to complete a three-year Fleet Renovation and Modernization (FRAM) project at Todd Shipyard in Seattle, Washington. The project upgraded Sherman's weapons, communications, aviation and other operating systems and completely renovated crew living and berthing spaces. Sherman completed ready-for-sea trials in July 1990 and once again commenced operational missions in the Pacific.[1]

In July 2001, Sherman became the first Coast Guard cutter to circumnavigate the world, after conducting U.N. sanctions enforcement duty in the Persian Gulf and goodwill projects in Madagascar, South Africa, and Cape Verde.[1]

CGC Sherman appeared in the 2005 film Yours Mine & Ours.[citation needed]

In May 2006, the cutter participated with a U.S. Navy task group during a five-month deployment to Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines. In March 2007, Sherman received worldwide attention when her boarding team discovered more than 17 metric tons of cocaine aboard the Panamanian freighter Gatun, a record seizure in the Eastern Pacific. Sherman was awarded the Golden Eagle award by the White House for combined interdiction successes during 2007.[1]

In May 2011, Sherman was transferred to San Diego, California. Sherman continued her operations by accomplishing three drug interdiction deployments in the Eastern Pacific, a winter Alaskan patrol in the Bering Sea to enforce U.S. fisheries regulations and to provide search-and-rescue support during the Alaskan red king crab harvest, and by earning the Pacific Area Operational Readiness Award.[1]

In May 2015, Sherman transferred her homeport to Honolulu, Hawaii.[1]

After a final patrol in the Bering Sea, Sherman returned to Honolulu on January 23, 2018[4] to await decommissioning on March 29, 2018.[5] Two new National Security Cutters will replace Sherman and the previously-retired Morgenthau in Honolulu.[4]

Transfer to Sri Lanka Navy

On 27 August 2018, at Honolulu, the ex-Sherman was transferred to the Sri Lanka Navy. Ex-Sherman was recommissioned 6 June 2019 as SLNS Gajabahu (P626).[6][7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "USCGC Sherman Unit History". U.S. Coast Guard. 7 August 2008. Archived from the original on 23 September 2008. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Coast Guard continues search for Big Valley crewmen". U.S. Coast Guard Office of Public Affairs. 17 January 2005. Archived from the original on 10 July 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2010.
  3. ^ Tanner, Adam (23 April 2007). "U.S. unloads record bust of 20 tons of cocaine". Reuters. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Coast Guard Cutter Sherman returns home from Bering Sea, final deployment". Coast Guard News. 24 January 2018. Archived from the original on 2 March 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Coast Guard Cutter Sherman decommissioned after nearly 50 years". Coast Guard News. 30 March 2018. Archived from the original on 2 March 2019. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  6. ^ Dominguez, Gabriel (30 August 2018). "Sri Lanka Navy receives ex-US Coast Guard cutter". Jane's 360. Archived from the original on 30 August 2018. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  7. ^ "President commissions U.S. Coast Guard Cutter given to Sri Lanka Navy as SLNS Gajabahu". ColomboPage. 6 June 2019. Archived from the original on 7 June 2019. Retrieved 6 June 2019.

External links

  • "Welcome to USCGC Sherman (WHEC-720)". U.S. Coast Guard. Archived from the original on 14 February 2017.
  • Reiss, Bob (31 January 2010). "Stopping Drugs At Sea". Parade.