Coast Guard Commissions New Cutter Aug. 4

COAST GUARD ISLAND, ALAMEDA, Calif.– The U.S. Coast Guard will commission the first 418-foot National Security Cutter, the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf, into its fleet during a ceremony scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 4 here.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, will be the keynote speaker. Other distinguished guests include Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen, and Bertholf Commanding Officer Capt. Patrick Stadt.

Speakers as well as members of the crew will be available for interviews following the ceremony. Tours of Bertholf will also be available.

Bertholf is the lead ship in the new Legend Class of cutters designed to be the flagship of the 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. It is one of the most advanced military vessels in the world and will help the U.S. Coast Guard to respond to America’s maritime needs well into the 21st Century.

The commissioning ceremony, which coincides with the Coast Guard’s 218th birthday, will be followed by the raising of colors, reading of orders and assumption of command, setting the watch, and manning the ship, all proud traditions dating back to the early days of the Revenue Cutter Service and the U.S. Lifesaving Service.

Built by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, in Pascagoula, Miss, Bertholf was christened Nov. 11, 2006, by the ship’s sponsor, Meryl Chertoff, wife of the DHS secretary.

After departing the shipyard mid-June, Stadt and his crew safely navigated more than 5,000 nautical miles from Mississippi to California. During their trip, Bertholf’s crew explored the capabilities of the Coast Guard’s newest cutter. In addition to small boat and helicopter operations, they conducted live-fire exercises on all of the ship’s 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 motto, “Legends Begin Here” was established June, 26, 2006. Bertholf was named after Commodore Ellsworth P. Bertholf, the first Commandant of the Coast Guard.

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