In just three days the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Adak will be sold to Indonesia, and time is running out for a list-ditch effort by a bipartisan group of lawmakers to stop the foreign sale of a piece of 9/11 history.
The USCGC Adak helped coordinate what’s known as the largest maritime rescue in history – the evacuation of 500,000 people from lower Manhattan after two planes crashed into the World Trade Center.
The 110-foot Island-class patrol boat also transported first responders and established a security zone to prevent further attacks.
“The idea of selling the Adak to a foreign country, especially now as we’re approaching the 20th anniversary of 9/11, makes no sense,” Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y., told Fox News.
“It should be forever memorialized as the symbol of strength of the American spirit, of the strong, resilient response,” he said.
Zeldin, along with Congressional Reps. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., and Charlie Crist, D-Fla., sent a letter to the State Department asking the department to delay the sale of the historic vessel until concerns have been addressed.
The letter included nearly two dozen questions including whether other ships scheduled to be decommissioned could be transferred to Indonesia instead, and whether the Coast Guard considered how this sale would be viewed by 9/11 victims, survivors and veterans.
“The men and women who served on the Adak displayed true heroism and we believe that this sale to Indonesia fails to honor their service,” the letter reads.
Efforts to save the Adak have been spearheaded by James Judge, a veteran who spent 13 months aboard the ship when it was deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
Judge formed the non-profit USCGC Adak Historical Society with the goal of preserving the ship as part of a 9/11 museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. He launched an online petition on change.org, “#savetheadak,” that has garnered more than 9,000 signatures.
“Give them (Indonesia) another one,” Judge said. “The Adak, which is an artifact of 9/11, is a significant piece and relic of American history and should be brought back to the United States.”
The U.S. Coast Guard said the sale is part of a year-long planning process that “directly supports international partners and allies to achieve U.S. national security interests.”
A U.S. Department of State official told Fox News that the sale is the result of a policy decision made under the Trump administration last year.
On April 2, the Biden administration notified Congress of its intent to transfer the USCGC Adak and the USCGC Aquidneck to Indonesia under the Excess Defense Articles program.
The transfer is part of an effort to strengthen maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region, including Indonesia’s national defense and countering piracy, according to the State Department.
“We want to build a stronger alliance between our countries, but it doesn’t have to be the Adak. We have several other 110-foot cutters that will fit the bill and we can follow through with our promise,” Zeldin said to Fox News.
“I sure hope the administration does the right thing,” he added.