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      SC-based Coast Guard cutter being decommissioned

      Coast Guard Cutter Gallatin (Thomas Malphrus/WCIV)

      NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP/WCIV) -- A Coast Guard cutter based in Charleston is being decommissioned after 45 years of service patrolling the seas.

      The Gallatin is being decommissioned on Monday in a ceremony in North Charleston. The ship and its crew of 170 returned from its last mission in December.

      Capt. Caleb Corson said the ship has called Charleston home since 1969 and has been involved in almost every major Coast Guard mission along the east coast.

      "Since I've been here it's captured over $450 million in drugs and 42 smugglers," said Corson.

      The Gallatin was commissioned in 1968 and will now be turned over to the Nigerian Navy.{}

      "The best thing about decommissioning is although the ship will no longer be servicing the Coast Guard, it's going to go to the Nigerian Navy and it will get a new name and a new crew and it will continue on in service," said Corson.

      Corson says although the Cutter Gallatin may be gone, the memories he has aboard ship, will last forever.

      "We've been through Hurricane Sandy, anchored off the Statue of Liberty last year for veterans day, the has just done amazing things," said Corson.

      The South Carolina-based cutter Dallas was decommissioned two years ago. The 45-year-old ship was transferred to the Philippine Navy.

      Coast Guard Sector Charleston later this year becomes home port for the Hamilton, one of a new generation of Coast Guard national security cutters and the first of its class to be based on the East Coast.

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