The U.S. Coast Guard’s two newest National Security Cutters (NSC), USCGC Kimball (WMSL 756) and USCGC Midgett (WMSL 757), were commissioned into the fleet during a ceremony at the USCG Base Honolulu in Hawaii on Saturday, Aug. 24.
The rare dual commissioning ceremony was presided over by Adm. Karl Schultz, the Coast Guard’s commandant.
“These national security cutters will continue our 150 years of partnership and commitment to the Pacific region – since September 1849, when Revenue Cutter Lawrence sailed into Honolulu Harbor escorted by Native Hawaiians in outrigger canoes,” said Schultz. “In today’s complex geostrategic environment with rising great power competition, the importance and demand for a strong Coast Guard presence in the Pacific has never been greater.”
Midgett, commanded by Capt. Alan McCabe, arrived in Honolulu from Pascagoula, Mississippi on Aug. 16 while the Kimball, commanded by Capt. Holly Harrison, arrived on Dec. 22 last year. The Coast Guard took delivery of Kimball on Sept. 19 last year and Midgett on May 1.
Midgett is named to honor all members of the Midgett family who served in the Coast Guard and its predecessor services. At least ten members of the family earned high honors for their heroic life-saving efforts. Among them, the Coast Guard awarded various family members seven gold lifesaving medals, the service’s highest award for saving a life, and three silver lifesaving medals.
The Kimball is the third ship to bear that name, in honor of Sumner Kimball, who served as superintendent of the Revenue Marine and as general superintendent of the Life-Saving Service from 1878 until the two organizations merged in 1915 to become the modern-day U.S. Coast Guard.
The Kimball and Midgett will be homeported in Honolulu along with the three fast response cutters. The Coast Guard said in statement that the vessels “will further advance the Coast Guard’s longstanding commitment to safeguard the nation’s maritime safety, security, and economic interests through critical deployments across the Indo-Pacific region”.
The national security cutters, also known as the Legend-class cutters, are some of the Coast Guard’s newest additions to the fleet and are a capable platform for a wide range of missions including homeland security and defense.
These new cutters, which are replacing the high endurance Hamilton-class cutters (378 feet) that have been in service since the 1960s, are being manufactured by Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division.
They are 418 feet in length, 54 feet in beam and 4,600 long tons in displacement. They have a top speed of more than 28 knots, a range of 12,000 nautical miles, an endurance of up to 90 days and can hold a crew of up to 150.
Advanced command-and-control capabilities and an unmatched combination of range, speed and ability to operate in extreme weather enable these ships to confront national security threats, strengthen maritime governance, support economic prosperity, and promote individual sovereignty.
Six more NSCs are currently in service. USCGC Hamilton (WMSL-753) and USCGC James (WMSL-754) are stationed in Charleston, South Carolina, and USCGC Bertholf (WMSL-750), USCGC Waesche (WMSL-751), USCGC Stratton (WMSL-752) and USCGC Munro (WMSL-755) are stationed in Alameda, California.
Ingalls has one more NSC under construction and two more under contract. Ninth vessel, the future USCGC Stone (WMSL 758), is scheduled for delivery in 2020. In December last year, Ingalls received two fixed-price incentive contracts with a combined value of $931 million to build NSCs 10 and 11.