The first new
U.S. Coast Guard high endurance cutter to be built in more than 35 years was
christened Bertholf (WMSL 750) before 1,000 enthusiastic guests at Northrop Grumman's shipyard
. The Veterans Day christening ceremony of the Coast Guard's first National Security
Cutter (NSC) honored Coast Guard veterans several of whom attended the ceremony.
As she smashed the bottle of champagne across the new ship's
bow, Meryl Chertoff, ship's sponsor and wife of Department of
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, proclaimed, "Bless this
ship and all who sail in her!"
U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.), delivered remarks honoring the
U.S. Coast Guard personnel and veterans at the ceremony.
The name Bertholf honors the U.S. Coast Guard's first
Commandant, Ellsworth Price Bertholf (1866-1921). On Jan. 28, 1915,
when President Woodrow Wilson signed a law consolidating the Revenue
Cutter Service and the U.S. Life Saving Service, he accepted Bertholf's
suggestion that 'Coast Guard' was the logical name for the combined
agencies. As the first commandant, Bertholf was instrumental in
implementing the successful merger of the two services.
The cutter is a 418-foot ship with a 4,300-ton displacement at
full load. Powered by a twin screw combined diesel and gas turbine
power propulsion plant, the NSC is designed to travel at 28 knots
maximum speed. The cutter includes an aft launch and recovery area for
two rigid hull inflatable boats, a flight deck to accommodate a range
of manned and unmanned rotary
wing aircrafts, and state-of-the-art
command and control electronics.
The cutter was designed to satisfy the Coast Guard's
multi-mission responsibilities in homeland security, national defense
marine safety and environmental protection. This class of cutters will
play an important role in enhancing the Coast Guard's operational
readiness, capacity and effectiveness at a time when the demand for its
services has never been higher. In partnership with the U.S. Coast
Guard, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, the joint venture partners
of Integrated Coast Guard Systems, have been working side-by-side to
design a ship that is not only capable and flexible, but also an
economical and enduring platform.