U.S. Coast Guard's First National Security Cutter Christened

Monday, November 13, 2006
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.

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