Northwest region military personnel and guests celebrated the commissioning of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Sea Fox (WPB 87374) at the Naval Base Kitsap, Keyport pier Sept. 18.
Rear Adm. Gary Blore, commander, 13th Coast Guard District, presided over the commissioning ceremony. Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Charles Bowen provided the keynote speech accompanied by his wife, Janet, the ship's official sponsor.
By tradition, the sponsor is a civilian woman with close ties to the service. She is invited to bestow good luck and divine protection over the ship and all that sail aboard. The sponsor also gives part of her own personality to the ship and becomes a permanent member of the crew.
Sea Fox, an 87-ft coastal patrol boat, has a crew of 10 and will be commanded Chief Warrant Officer Michael Lemay. The cutter is one of the new Marine Protector classes being constructed by Bollinger Ship Yards in Lockport, La.
"It is both a humbling experience and an honor for me to stand before you on behalf of the crew," said Lemay. "The pride of ownership, devotion to duty and craftsmanship this crew has put into this cutter is obvious."
The commissioning was the second for Naval Base Kitsap in its five-plus years of existence. Both ships have been Coast Guard cutters.
"This is my first command straight from boot camp," said Sea Fox crew member Fireman Robert Cox. "It's going to be a lasting memory being a part of this ship's first crew."
Sea Fox will be joining the Coast Guard cutter Sea Devil and be assigned to the Coast Guard Maritime Force Protection Unit at NBK Bangor to provide security to the Navy's submarine fleet as they transit to and from homeport.
The Coast Guard's newest cutter is named after the U.S. submarine Sea Fox, a diesel-electric submarine of the Baleao-class, decommissioned Dec. 14, 1970.