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Keel authenticated for ninth national security cutter


Laura Cavallo are welded onto a steel plate that will later be affixed to Coast Guard Cutter Stone

The initials of ship sponsor Laura Cavallo are welded onto a steel plate that will later be affixed to Coast Guard Cutter Stone, signifying the keel of the service’s ninth national security cutter as being “truly and fairly laid.” The ship was named in honor of Elmer Stone, the first Coast Guard aviator. Photo courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries.

The Coast Guard and Ingalls Shipbuilding authenticated the keel for the ninth national security cutter (NSC), Stone, in Pascagoula, Mississippi, Sept. 14.

Cutter sponsor Laura Cavallo was present at the ceremony to mark the beginning of Stone’s construction. Her initials were welded into a steel plate that later will be affixed to the ship’s structure to authenticate that the keel was "truly and fairly laid."

The cutter’s namesake and Cavallo’s great-uncle, Cmdr. Elmer Stone, was the first Coast Guard aviator. He graduated in 1913 from the Revenue Cutter School of Instruction, later named the Coast Guard Academy, and then received training at Navy Aeronautics Station Pensacola starting in 1916. Three years later, while the Coast Guard was under the Navy Department because of World War I, Stone served as pilot of the NC-4 that made the historic first transatlantic flight, for which he received the Navy Cross. In 1934, Stone broke the world speed record for amphibian planes.

The NSC acquisition program addresses the Coast Guard’s need for open-ocean patrol cutters with the seakeeping, habitability, endurance and technological advancement to serve as command and control centers in the most demanding maritime environments. The 418-foot NSC fleet features advanced command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment; aviation support facilities; stern cutter boat launch; and long-endurance station keeping.

The cutter is slated to be the ninth NSC to enter service, with delivery scheduled in fiscal year 2021. Six NSCs are currently in service. Coast Guard cutters Hamilton and James are stationed in Charleston, South Carolina, and Coast Guard cutters Bertholf, Waesche, Stratton and Munro are stationed in Alameda, California. Kimball, the seventh cutter, and Midgett, the eighth cutter, will be stationed in Honolulu. In March 2018, the service awarded a contract for long lead time materials for the 10th NSC.

For more information: National Security Cutter Program page