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Katko, Bilirakis Continue to Pursue Efforts to Keep and Preserve Key 9/11 Military Asset

June 12, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC— Rep. John Katko (R-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) have joined forces urging the Biden Administration to reconsider its planned sale of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Adak to the Republic of Indonesia, highlighting the upcoming 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

In April, Ranking Member Katko was joined by members of the House Homeland Security Committee in calling on the Administration to take into consideration the historical importance of USCG Adak. The soon to be decommissioned cutter played an instrumental role in search and rescue efforts and maintaining maritime security on 9/11.  As the first on-scene commander immediately following the attack, the Adak arrived on scene and coordinated the evacuation of 500,000 people who were stuck in lower Manhattan. Separately, Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) has taken on similar efforts.

While the lawmakers have no objection to the U.S. selling a decommissioned cutter to an ally, they expressed belief that a vessel without such historical significance would be more appropriate.  In its recent responses to Bilirakis and Katko, the Department of State admitted that it has at least five similarly-sized vessels in the process of being decommissioned, none of which have the historical significance of the Adak. Furthermore, the U.S. State Department’s responses to questioning by Representatives Katko and Bilirakis regarding this matter were wholly unsatisfactory. It was apparent that the agency has never engaged in a thorough, good faith investigation of alternative solutions to meet the diplomatic goals with Indonesia using a ship other than the Adak.

We strongly support the efforts by the USCGC Adak Historical Society to obtain the cutter Adak when she is decommissioned later this month and encourage the Biden Administration to reconsidering transferring the vessel to the Government of Indonesia,” said Congressman John Katko, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security. Turning the Adak into a Coast Guard museum and youth education center instead would be a testament to the cutter’s historical and national significance. The Adak and her crew members have a long history of service to the United States, including critical response and recovery efforts in New York Harbor after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. As we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11, we must take opportunities to teach future generations about the sacrifice and courage shown on that difficult day in our Nation’s history.”

Bringing the Adak to Tampa Bay is a meaningful endeavor, and I commend local resident and U.S. Coast Guard Veteran James Judge for spearheading the effort. While it is reasonable to use our surplus resources to help allies in the region as they pursue mutual national security interests, there are far more appropriate options for meeting this goal while preserving the historical significance of the Adak.  I hope the Biden Administration will do the right thing by bringing the Adak back to the U.S. and offer a similar cutter to Indonesia. There are scores of Tampa Bay area residents who survived the horrific terror attacks of 9/11 who would find great peace, joy, and comfort knowing they can visit with their children and grandchildren a museum dedicated to the historic 9/11 rescue effort,” said Congressman Gus Bilirakis.