PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The Coast Guard formally accepted delivery of the fifth National Security Cutter, James, at a ceremony in Pascagoula, Mississippi today.
“Following much anticipation after the keel laying in 2013, Ingalls Shipbuilding has delivered a great and highly mission-capable cutter to the Coast Guard today,” said Capt. Andrew J. Tiongson, commanding officer of James. “The James’ crew has prepared many months for this historic day, and we are privileged and honored to be the first crew to operate this cutter.”
The cutter is named for Captain Joshua James, who is considered one of the most celebrated lifesavers in the world. His lifesaving career began at age 15 when he joined the Massachusetts Humane Society and ended with his death while on duty with the U.S. Life-Saving Service at age 75. James is credited with saving more than 600 lives in and around the Boston harbor area 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 home ported on the East Coast. At 418 feet in length and 4,500 tons, the Legend-class National Security Cutter (NSC) is the centerpiece of the Coast Guard fleet. The largest and most technologically advanced class of cutters in the Coast Guard’s fleet, the NSCs replace the aging 378-foot High Endurance Cutters, which have been in service since the 1960s. Compared to legacy cutters, the NSCs’ design provides better sea-keeping, higher sustained transit speeds, greater endurance and range, and the ability to launch and recover small boats from astern, as well as aviation support facilities and a flight deck for helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.
The ship is scheduled to be commissioned in Boston on Aug. 8 to honor the cutter’s namesake and will later sail to its homeport in Charleston, South Carolina. The commissioning in Boston, only days after the Coast Guard’s 225th birthday on Aug. 4, is highly symbolic. Notably, it will link the renowned lifesavers of the past, represented by the distinguished Captain Joshua James, to the next generation of men and women serving in the Coast Guard’s newest class of cutters.