The U.S. Coast Guard is pleased to announce today that the second National Security Cutter, Waesche (WMSL 751) floated off its building site on July 11, 2008. The float-off, which was the first time the Waesche entered the water, began on the evening of July 11, and was complete by the morning of July 12. The ship float-off involved moving the ship across land on a rail transfer system and ended with the ship being moored pier side. The ship has been under construction at the Northrop Grumman Ship Systems yard in Pascagoula, Miss., since its keel was laid on Sept. 11, 2006.
The formal christening ceremony that celebrates this float-off is July 26, 2008 when the Waesche will be officially named. The christening does not mark the end of a ship’s construction process. Waesche will remain pier side and under construction through 2008. It is scheduled to begin its sea trials in 2009.
Waesche is named for Adm. Russell R. Waesche who was the first Coast Guard commandant to achieve the rank of Admiral and led the Coast Guard from 1936 to 1946, including during World War II. His granddaughter, Marilla Waesche Pivonka, is the ship’s sponsor.
Waesche is the second of eight planned National Security Cutters (NSC). The NSCs, part of the Coast Guard’s Deepwater major acquisition program, will be the flagships of the Coast Guard fleet and will replace the 378-ft Hamilton class High Endurance Cutters, which entered service during the 1960s. The first NSC, Bertholf, will be commissioned in Alameda, Calif. on August 4, 2008.
The next step:
• Waesche Christening, 26 July 2008
• Waesche Sea Trials, 2009
For more information on the National Security Cutter, please visit the project’s website at http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/NSC.