Coast Guard commissions its newest National Security Cutter

The Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard presents the colors during the Coast Guard Cutter Joshua James commissioning ceremony at Base Boston, Aug. 8, 2015. The Cutter Joshua James is a 418-foot National Security Cutter that will be homeported in Charleston, S.C. (Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley)

The Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard presents the colors during the Coast Guard Cutter Joshua James commissioning ceremony at Base Boston, Aug. 8, 2015.(Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley)

BOSTON — The Coast Guard commissioned its newest National Security Cutter, the 418-foot Coast Guard Cutter James, Saturday during a ceremony at Coast Guard Base Boston.

“Joshua James began his life-saving career at 15 and saved more than 600 lives,” said Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft. “What better namesake for a ship and crew that will serve our Nation with pride for the next half century saving lives, stopping smugglers, maintaining safety and security in the Arctic and wherever national objectives may require.”

During the ceremony, Zukunft, Charlene James Benoit, of Milford, Connecticut, the ship’s sponsor and great-great niece of the ship’s namesake, and James’ commanding officer, Capt. Andrew J. Tiongson, a native of Somerville, ordered the ship to “come to life”, officailly appointing James as an active cutter in the Coast Guard’s fleet.

James’s crew will play a vital role in the Coast Guard’s ability to secure our nation’s maritime domain and borders, save lives, interdict illicit traffic, alien smugglers and illegal aliens, and protect ports, waterways and natural resources.

The cutter is named for Capt. Joshua James, a native of Hull, who is credited with saving more than 600 lives during his time with the U.S. Life-Saving Service, which merged with the Revenue Cutter Service in 1915 to create the modern U.S. Coast Guard.

James is the fifth of eight planned National Security Cutters and the second to be homeported on the East Coast. The James will be homeported in Charleston, South Carolina, at the Fleet Law Enforcement Training Center.

The time-honored tradition of commissioning a ship dates back to ancient times, and ceremonially completes the cycle from christening and launching to full status as a cutter in the United States Coast Guard.

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