ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The effort to stop a historic Coast Guard cutter, which oversaw rescue efforts on 9/11, from being sold to the Republic of Indonesia reached a significant milestone Wednesday by receiving more than 10,000 signatures on a Change.org petition asking the Biden administration to stop the sale.
The USCGC Adak Historical Society, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, launched the petition a little more than a week ago after trying for more than a year to secure the Coast Guard Cutter Adak to turn it into a 9/11 memorial and a museum in the Tampa Bay area.
According to the non-profit, they had been in contact with the Coast Guard and had been working with Congress for nearly a year. A bill called the Cutter Conveyance Improvement Act of 2021 had been drafted. Congressman Gus Bilirakis had agreed to sponsor the bill, and they were on their way to having the legislation introduced that would have given possession of the historic ship to the foundation.
That's when the Coast Guard notified the U.S. Department of State of their preference to dispose of the cutter by selling it to a foreign country, instead. Rather than having to pay for costs to transport the ship back or dock fees while the ship was waiting to be transferred, the Coast Guard opted for the less-expensive route of giving it to a foreign country. According to the formal notification process to Congress, the Coast Guard and the U.S. Department of State identified the Republic of Indonesia as the prospective recipient.
"It's important to note that we offered to cover the costs associated with bringing the Adak back and paying for the dock fees, while the ship was moored and awaiting transfer," said James Judge, a former Coast Guardsman and crewmember who served aboard the Adak and founder of the USCGC Adak Historical Society. "We thought because of the pending legislation and the bipartisan support, that we we're going to get the Adak, so it came as a surprise that the Coast Guard and the State Department decided to move forward with giving this historically important 9/11 artifact to a foreign country.”
Since launching the Change.org petition, more than 10,000 people have signed the petition and media coverage from New York to Florida has questioned and condemned the sale.
“We’re extremely grateful that thousands of Americans have signed their name in support of our efforts and this cause,” said Judge. “It goes to show that our country is still united on important issues like this and it should serve as a direct repudiation of the government’s plan to sell the Adak.”
Additionally, Congressman Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Congressman Charlie Crist (D-FL), and Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-NY) sent a letter to the State Department last Friday in an effort to stop the sale.
“Bringing the Adak to Tampa Bay is a meaningful endeavor worth undertaking, and I commend local resident and U.S. Coast Guard Veteran James Judge for spearheading the effort. We hope the Biden Administration will do the right thing by bringing the Adak back to the U.S. and offer an identical 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 Bilirakis.
The letter sent by Bilirakis, Crist and Zeldin questioned the sale and proposed providing one of many additional 110-foot Coast Guard cutters, which are also all slated to be decommissioned in the coming months, to Indonesia instead of the historic Coast Guard Cutter Adak.
"The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Adak played a critical role in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As we approach the 20th anniversary of one of America’s darkest days, the Adak serves as a reminder of American courage, sacrifice and resilience in the days and years following this attack on our freedom and way of life. Selling this significant historic symbol to a foreign nation would be incredibly shortsighted,” said Congressman Zeldin.
To read the letter submitted by the lawmakers, click here.
To learn more about the Coast Guard Cutter Adak and the effort to save the ship, visit savetheadak.com
*The USCGC Adak Historical Society, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and preserving U.S. Coast Guard and armed forces history.
*As an Amazon Associate, Military Trader / Military Vehicles earns from qualifying purchases.