Charleston’s new Coast Guard cutter arrives home for Thanksgiving

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CHARLESTON – The Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton, the first national security cutter homeported on the East Coast, arrived today in Charleston.

As the Coast Guard’s largest and newest 418-foot cutter, Hamilton logged more than 3,000 miles, completed underway certification and made port calls at Pensacola, Florida, Miami and Mayport, Florida, 24 days after leaving the Ingalls Shipbuilding facility in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

“It’s fantastic for the crew to be home and join their families for the Thanksgiving holiday after being away for more than six months,” said Capt. Doug Fears, Hamilton’s commanding officer. “I am proud of my shipmates, and we’re thankful for the safe voyage, the support of our families, friends, and the Charleston community and most importantly, we’re honored to bring this great cutter to its new homeport as we begin a four-plus decade relationship with Charleston”

Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton, a National Security Cutter, makes the transit to its new homeport in Charleston, S.C., Nov. 24, 2014. The Hamiliton is the first NSC to be stationed on the East Coast since the new class of cutters was established. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Stephen Lehmann)

Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton, a National Security Cutter, makes the transit to its new homeport in Charleston, S.C., Nov. 24, 2014. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Stephen Lehmann)

During the transit from the shipyard and port calls, Hamilton’s 117 crew members completed their Ready for Sea training, and completed underway qualifications for deck and engineering watchstanding, as well as damage control. A small group from the Coast Guard Cutter James, the second and final NSC slated for Charleston, transited with the Hamilton crew to jump-start their underway qualifications.

“I commend the crew’s personal sacrifices to be away from their families and to ensure the success of our mission— to deliver the Hamilton safely to its new homeport,” Cmdr. Stephen Matadobra, Hamilton’s executive officer, said. “I’m impressed how the crew completed Ready for Sea certification in nine days during transit and truly thankful we’re able to reunite them with their loved ones for Thanksgiving.”

Hamilton’s commissioning ceremony is scheduled for Dec. 6 in Charleston. The commissioning ceremony is a time-honored tradition that publicly validates the cutter and its crew for operational service.

Following the commissioning, the cutter and its crew will undergo more training and certification until it deploys next year to conduct maritime law enforcement missions throughout the Western Hemisphere.

The Hamilton is the fourth NSC built out of eight planned for the Legend class cutter fleet. It is the sixth cutter to be named after Alexander Hamilton, who cast a vision for the Revenue Marine Service in Federalist Paper #12, and then as the first Secretary of the Treasury prompted Congress to create the Revenue Marine Service, a precursor to the modern Coast Guard.

Legend-class NSC’s are the largest multipurpose cutters in the Coast Guard fleet and is replacing the 378-foot high endurance cutter, which has been in service since the 1960s. The NSC is 418 feet long and has a top speed of 28 knots and a range of 12,000 nautical miles. It is capable of patrolling in excess of 90 days.

Click the photo for more from the Hamilton arrival.

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