ALAMEDA, Calif. – With great fanfare, the U.S. Coast Guard commissioned its second National Security Cutter (NSC), Waesche(WMSL 751), in a ceremony held May 7 on Coast Guard Island.
The ceremony, which welcomed U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Waesche into the service’s operational fleet, featured a flyover by one of the Coast Guard’s MH-65C Dolphin helicopters.
Vice Adm. David Pekoske, the Coast Guard’s Vice Commandant, gave the principal address and placed Waesche in commission. “Today’s ceremony completes the cycle from christening to commissioning of this highly capable ship. It is through the strong partnership with industry, from concept to delivery, that you see this fine ship behind me,” he said. “This ceremony served as a reminder of our multi-mission nature and the urgency for recapitalizing our aging fleet of cutters,” Pekoske wrote in his iCommandant blog posting.
At the ceremony, Capt. Lance Bardo assumed command as USCGC Waesche’s Commanding Officer. Dr. Jeffrey Waesche, grandson of the cutter’s namesake Adm. Russell R. Waesche, passed the long glass and set the first watch. Marilla Waesche Pivonka, Adm. Waesche’s granddaughter and the ship’s sponsor, then ordered the crew to “man our ship and bring her to life.” In an amazing coincidence, it was noted that Dr. Waesche had delivered one of the USCGC Waesche’s 110 crew members as a baby 30 years ago.
The newest NSC 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 and greater endurance and range. USCGC Waesche also possesses a greater ability to launch and recover small boats, helicopters and eventually, unmanned aerial vehicles. The NSC has state-of-the-art command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems that enhance the Coast Guard’s interoperability with its Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security partners.
The 418-foot Waesche is the second ship in the new Legend-class of cutters designed to be the flagship of the Coast Guard’s modernized fleet. Eight cutters are planned for the class. The third NSC, Stratton, is approximately 40 percent complete and will be christened this summer by its sponsor, First Lady Michelle Obama. More information on the National Security Cutter program can be found online at: http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/nsc/default.asp.