The Coast Guard hit the water in its newest fast response cutter on Wednesday.

The 154-foot William Flores can deploy independently and conduct missions and is able to launch a rescue boat to enforce drug smuggling and catch illegal migrants.

The ship is named after 19-year-old William Flores, who served on the Blackhorn back in 1980 when it collided with an oil tanker. The seaman apprentice sacrificed his life to safe 27 of his shipmates.

"It gives me chills every time I think about it, to be apart of a ship that is named after someone who is such a hero to our service," said Lt. JG Catherine Gillen.

A crew of 24 will command the Sentinel-Class Cutter that will become a key part in protecting Florida's coast. It will be commissioned in November.

PHOTOS: New Coast Guard cutter

Published On: Oct 17 2012 12:22:38 PM EDT
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