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Coast Guard commissions ninth national security cutter

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The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Stone prepare to bring the ship to life during a commissioning ceremony at Coast Guard Base Charleston, South Carolina, March 19, 2021. The cutter's namesake is the late Cmdr. Elmer "Archie" Fowler Stone, who in 1917 became the Coast Guard's first aviator and, two years later, was one of two pilots to successfully make a transatlantic flight in a Navy seaplane, landing in Portugal. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Vincent Moreno.


The Coast Guard commissioned the ninth national security cutter (NSC), Stone, at its Charleston, South Carolina, homeport March 19. Stone will be stationed in Charleston along with NSCs Hamilton and James.

“New, incredibly capable assets like the Cutter Stone, coupled with our inherent broad authorities, well-honed operational skillsets, far-reaching and results-oriented partnerships, and extraordinary Coast Guardsmen, make our Service a perfect complement to the lethality of both the Navy and Marine Corps. United, we bring a range of maritime capabilities to employ across what I like to refer to as the ‘cooperation-competition-lethality continuum.’  While we train and operate across the entire continuum, it is in the ‘cooperate and compete’ area of the continuum that we best demonstrate our value to the nation, ” said Adm. Karl Schultz, Coast Guard commandant, who presided over the ceremony. In line with current social distancing requirements, the in-person ceremony was limited to the official party and VIPs.

The cutter’s name honors Elmer Fowler Stone, a Coast Guard innovator and aviator. In May 1919, he became the first person to pilot an aircraft across the Atlantic, for which he was awarded the Navy Cross.

NSCs feature advanced command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment; aviation support facilities; stern cutter boat launch; and long-endurance station keeping. The 418-foot cutters have an endurance of 60 to 90 days and can serve as operational-level headquarters for complex law enforcement, defense and national security missions involving the Coast Guard and multiple partner agencies. They are replacing the 1960s-era 378-foot high-endurance cutters.

The Coast Guard has commissioned nine NSCs into service. In addition to the three cutters stationed in Charleston; cutters Bertholf, Waesche, Stratton and Munro are stationed in Alameda, California; and cutters Kimball and Midgett are in Honolulu. The Coast Guard awarded a fixed-price contract option in December 2018 for production of the 10th and 11th NSCs.

For more information: National Security Cutter program page