cg9 banner

Coast Guard accepts 10th national security cutter


Capt. Tim Sommella, prospective commanding officer of the 10th national security cutter, Calhoun, signs the paperwork to complete formal delivery of the cutter to the Coast Guard from Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Pictured are, from left: Amanda Whitaker, HII NSC program manager; Sommella; Deanna King, Coast Guard contracting specialist; and Capt. Peter Morrisseau, commanding officer, Coast Guard Project Resident Office Gulf Coast. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

The Coast Guard accepted delivery of the 10th national security cutter (NSC) Oct. 13, 2023, in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Coast Guard Cutter Calhoun is scheduled for commissioning in 2024 and will be homeported in Charleston, South Carolina, joining cutters Hamilton, James and Stone. 

The cutter’s namesake, Master Chief Petty Officer Charles Calhoun, served as the Coast Guard’s first master chief petty officer from August 1969 to August 1973. He served as the senior enlisted member of the service and the principal adviser to the commandant on matters affecting the enlisted ranks. Calhoun was also responsible for developing the command master chief program at the district level and developing realistic dress and grooming standards that included allowing civilian clothing onboard cutters for liberty wear. 

“Set your goals high,” Calhoun advised before his passing in 2002. “You are capable of being the best in everything that you want to accomplish.” 

During his tenure, Calhoun was also a member of the board that created the Coast Guard cutterman insignia, established an advisory program to hear enlisted personnel concerns, expanded career counseling programs and was instrumental in the development of the Coast Guard’s service dress uniform. Over the course of his almost 30-year career, Calhoun served aboard six cutters, accumulating over 14 years at sea, including two tours in Vietnam.  

The 418-foot NSCs are the most technologically advanced of the service's newest classes of cutters, an essential element of the Department of Homeland Security's layered security strategy. When combined with the future offshore patrol cutters, will comprise the Coast Guard's offshore response capability for decades to come. They can execute the most challenging operations, including supporting maritime homeland security and defense missions. NSCs feature advanced command, control, communications, computer, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance equipment; aviation support facilities; stern cutter boat launch; and long-endurance stationkeeping. 

The vessels have an endurance of up 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. 

 This is the 10th of 11 NSCs planned for production to be delivered. In addition to cutters Calhoun, Hamilton, James and Stone in Charleston, cutters Bertholf, Waesche, Stratton and Munro are stationed in Alameda, California, and cutters Kimball and Midgett in Honolulu. 

For more information: National Security Cutter page.