NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C., — The USCGC Stone (WMSL 758) became the Coast Guard’s newest national security cutter during a commissioning ceremony March 19 at Coast Guard Base Charleston, the Coast Guard Atlantic Area said in a release.
Adm. Karl Schultz, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, presided over the ceremony. Laura Cavallo, the grandniece of the ship’s namesake and ship’s sponsor, was also in attendance.
The cutter’s name comes from Cmdr. Elmer “Archie” Fowler Stone, who in 1917 became the Coast Guard’s first aviator and, two years later, was the pilot of the NC-4, a Navy airplane, which in 1919 was the first aircraft to accomplish a transatlantic flight, landing in Portugal.
The Stone is the ninth legend-class national security cutter in the Coast Guard’s fleet. The Legend class national security cutters can execute the most challenging national security missions, including support to U.S. combatant commanders.
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. These new cutters are replacing the high-endurance Hamilton-class cutters in service since the 1960s.
The Stone launched Oct. 4, 2019, for sea trials. Following sea trials, the crew conducted its first voyage, Operation Southern Cross, a patrol to the South Atlantic supporting counter illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
Taking the newly accepted cutter on its shakedown cruise, Stone’s crew covered over 21,000 miles (18,250 nautical miles) over 68 days. A mutual interest in combating IUUF activities offered an opportunity to collaborate for Stone’s crew. They interacted with partners in Guyana, Brazil, Uruguay and Portugal, strengthening relationships and laying the foundation for increased partnerships to counter illicit maritime activity.
Ship commissioning is the act or ceremony of placing a ship in active service.