Portsmouth Area Coast Guard Units To Celebrate 218th Birthday

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The Coast Guard will celebrate 218 years of service Monday with celebrations throughout the Hampton Roads region this weekend highlighting the service’s modernization efforts.  
This year’s theme is to celebrate our great history while embracing the change needed to increase our responsiveness and effectiveness to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The Hampton Roads region has been greatly impacted by modernization efforts over the last year.

On July 30, the Coast Guard’s critical command, control and communications acquisition project, known as Rescue 21, was launched at Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads here. The system is the backbone of the National Maritime Distress and Response System, a maritime version of 911 that allows the boating public, the Coast Guard and other response agencies to communicate more effectively in emergency situations in the marine environment.

Coast Guard Station Little Creek, Va., was the first Coast Guard unit in the nation to introduce the 45-foot Response Boat-Medium (RB-M). The RB-M is a multi-mission boat that will operate in coastal zones, which include inshore and inland waterways and open ocean out to 50-nautical-miles. The RB-M is a self-righting, 45-foot all-aluminum boat with twin diesel engines and water jet propulsion. The RB-M replaces the aging 41-foot utility boats, which have been the workhorse of Coast Guard small boat stations for more than a quarter of a century.

Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., accepted the third “Missionized” HC-130J Long Range Surveillance Aircraft May 12. The Coast Guard’s C-130J “Hercules” is based on the robust C-130 basic airframe design, but new engines, propellers, avionics, and cargo-handling equipment quickly set this new aircraft apart from its predecessor. The plane features advanced engines and six-bladed propellers. In addition, the C-130J has a 20 percent increase in speed, 40 percent increase in range, and a 40 percent higher cruising altitude than its counterpart.

Local Coast Guard Day celebrations in the area include:
The Coast Guard Integrated Support Command Portsmouth will host the Coast Guard Day 2008 celebration Saturday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Festivities include a variety of music, games for children, an obstacle course and a dunk tank featuring Vice Adm. Robert J. Papp Jr., commander Coast Guard Atlantic Area. The event is free for all military personnel and $5 for the general public.
Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, N.C., will host Coast Guard Day 2008 celebration activities Monday between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. at the Forest Pavilion. The celebration will include two live bands featuring Natalie Stovall and the Kelly Bell Band, a group from Baltimore, Md. The celebration will also feature NASCAR Kasey Kahne #9 Budweiser Race Car, a rock-climbing wall, bungee run, pony rides, clowns and face painting tents. Admission for the general public is $5 and $1 for military personnel.

As America’s lifesavers and guardians of the seas, Coast Guard men and woman have committed themselves to protecting and securing our Nation with honor, respect and devotion to duty for more than two centuries.

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