Coast Guard marks milestone in the construction of national museum

Susan Curtin, retired Coast Guard Petty Officer, Vincent W. Patton, former Master Chief Petty Officer of the U.S. Coast Guard, and other museum chair members unveil a commemorative plaque in New London, CT, Aug 19, 2022 during the National Coast Guard Museum keel-laying ceremony. The ceremony was held to officially recognize the start of the construction process of the National Coast Guard Museum. (U.S. Coast Guard photograph by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Thieme.)

Susan Curtin, retired Coast Guard Petty Officer, Vincent W. Patton, former Master Chief Petty Officer of the U.S. Coast Guard, and other museum chair members unveil a commemorative plaque in New London, CT, Aug 19, 2022 during the National Coast Guard Museum keel-laying ceremony. (U.S. Coast Guard photograph by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matthew Thieme.)

NEW LONDON, Conn. — The Coast Guard commemorated the new construction of the National Coast Guard Museum with a formal ceremony on the City Pier, New London Waterfront, New London, Connecticut, Friday, August 19, 2022.

Adm. Linda L. Fagan, Commandant of the Coast Guard, officiated the symbolic “keel-laying” ceremony for the museum’s main building, which will memorialize more than 230 years of service into one central location to honor the legacy and heritage of the Coast Guard.

“Today was a beautiful day in New London and for the Coast Guard,” said Fagan. “I am excited about the National Coast Guard Museum, a place where we can share our history and stories with the American public. I appreciate the many people who worked hard to get us here, and I can’t wait to see this new museum take shape.”

Also participating in the ceremony were, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Rep. Joe Courtney, and local government officials.

The National Coast Guard Museum’s six floors and 80,000 square-foot exhibit space will represent the Coast Guard members who have, are, or will stand the watch at home and abroad, embodying the service’s core values of Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty.

“Creating a national-level museum takes years of dedicated efforts to make sure we honor this wonderful service appropriately,” said Ms. Elizabeth Varner, National Coast Guard Museum director. “Watching the museum come to life with major milestones, such as today’s ceremony, is not only rewarding for those of us directly involved, it’s a great accomplishment for every Coast Guard member and the country they serve.”

The event included musical performances from the Coast Guard Band and a silent drill team demonstration from the Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard. Displayed at the pier were the Coast Guard Cutter Eagle, a 295-foot tall ship homeported in New London, Connecticut, the Coast Guard Cutter Hammerhead, an 87-foot patrol boat homeported in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and response boats from Coast Guard Station New London.

A keel-laying ceremony is a long-recognized tradition of laying down the ship’s backbone to mark the start of its construction. Although modern shipbuilding methods have evolved, the keel-laying ceremony honors this tradition of shipbuilding during the construction of new ships and buildings.

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