ALAMEDA, Calif. – The U.S. Coast Guard’s first National Security Cutter, Bertholf, is scheduled to arrive at its home port at Coast Guard Island here for the first time Wednesday at 11 a.m., as the final destination of its homecoming tour.
Bertholf is the lead ship in the new Legend class of cutters designed to be the flagship of the modern Coast Guard fleet. Bertholf will improve operational readiness and enable the Coast Guard to fulfill its multi-mission roles more effectively through better sea keeping, higher sustained transit speeds, greater endurance and range, and a greater ability to launch and recover improved small boats, helicopters, and eventually unmanned aerial vehicles – all key attributes in enabling the Coast Guard to implement increased security responsibilities.
“Bertholf is not just the first of the new Legend Class of Cutters, it is the benchmark for all future cutters and represents a new era of Coast Guard surface operations,” said Capt. Patrick H. Stadt, Commanding Officer of Bertholf. “Most of us in the crew have been together for the last two years, training to operate the ship; for the last six months we’ve been away from our families while getting the ship ready for this day when we get to bring Bertholf to the Bay Area. I think I speak for everyone aboard when I say we’ve been counting down the days. It’s great to finally be home,” he said.
Bertholf’s crew transferred in four phases beginning in January, from Alameda to the Gulf Coast, where they took control of the first Legend Class Cutter at Northrop Grumman’s shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., on May 8, 2008
While in Mississippi, the crew continued their aggressive hands on training and familiarization regime. They worked with Coast Guard Pacific Area, Afloat Training Group Pacific and Aviation Training Center Mobile to ensure the cutter was ready for the patrol home.
The 125-person crew brought Bertholf to a number of east coast port calls including Pensacola, Fla., Miami, Annapolis, Md, and Baltimore. Each stop gave Coast Guard leadership, government leaders and other stakeholders an opportunity to see the new cutter. After completing the east coast patrol, Bertholf headed south and then through the Panama Canal.
During the patrol, Bertholf crewmembers continued to explore the capabilities of the Coast Guard’s newest cutter. In addition to small boat and helicopter operations, the crew of Bertholf conducted live fire exercises on all of their weapons systems, including the Mk 110 57mm gun, Close-In Weapons System (CIWS) Block 1B, and .50 caliber machine guns.
Bertholf is the first of eight national security cutters to be built for the Coast Guard. The cutter’s fitting motto, “Legends Begin Here” was established on June, 26, 2006. Bertholf was christened on November 11, 2006, Veterans’ Day, and is named after Commodore Ellsworth P. Bertholf, the first Commandant of the Coast Guard. A formal commissioning ceremony is scheduled to take place at Coast Guard Island, Alameda, Calif., on Aug. 4, 2008.
Media interested in attending Bertholf’s arrival should contact PacArea Public Affairs at (510) 816-0215 or (510)437-3375 no later than Tuesday morning to coordinate entry onto Coast Guard Island.
For more information on Coast Guard cutter Bertholf visit www.uscg.mil/pacarea/bertholf/