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NSC program continues progress, achieves acquisition milestones for seventh and eighth cutters



Coast Guard Cutter Kimball, the seventh national security cutter (NSC), departed from Pascagoula, Mississippi, on Nov. 3. The cutter was built by Huntington Ingalls Industries and is bound for its Honolulu, Hawaii, homeport, where it will be commissioned in January 2019. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Two Coast Guard national security cutters – Kimball and Midgett – are steadily advancing toward completion.

The seventh national security cutter (NSC), Kimball, sailed away from Pascagoula, Mississippi, Nov. 3 for its Honolulu, Hawaii, homeport.

The cutter’s commissioning is planned for January 2019; it will be the first NSC stationed there.

On Oct. 25, the crew of the eighth NSC, Midgett, took part in a time-honored tradition known as mast stepping. During the raising of the mast and placement of it into a notch in the keel, the custom involves placing special coins and other memorabilia underneath or near the mast as a form of good luck. The tradition’s origins are thought to be related to an ancient burial practice. The coins and bills that were selected for Midgett added up to $7.57, corresponding to the hull number (WMSL 757). Each piece of currency is from a year that was significant for the namesake, John Allen Midgett Jr.; the namesake’s family; and the ship sponsor, Jazania O’Neal. The items will build the connection between past, current and future Coast Guard members, deepening the service’s sense of history.

Midgett is planned to be stationed alongside Kimball in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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 legend class cutters are replacing the 378-foot high endurance cutters, which have been in service since the 1960s.

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.

For more information: National Security Cutter Program page

Crew members of Midgett prepare to place a box with pieces of currency from years that are significant for the ship’s namesake, the namesake’s family, and the ship’s sponsor, near the mast as part of the mast stepping tradition Oct. 25, 2018. The ceremony in Pascagoula, Mississippi, marked a milestone in the acquisition process for the eighth NSC which is scheduled for a 2019 delivery. Photo courtesy of Tom Wise/Ingalls Shipbuilding.