WASHINGTON — First lady Michelle Obama christened the National Security Cutter (NSC) Stratton Friday when she broke a bottle of champagne across the cutter’s bow during a ceremony at Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss.
This is the first time in U.S. history a first lady has sponsored a Coast Guard cutter. The Stratton is the namesake of Capt. Dorothy Stratton, who led the U.S. Coast Guard Women’s Reserve, or SPARs, during World War II.
“I thank you for the great honor of being the first first lady to sponsor a United States Coast Guard cutter,” said Obama. “And believe me, I am humbled that its namesake is the first woman to serve as a commissioned officer in the United States Coast Guard – one of the true pioneers in American history – Captain Dorothy C. Stratton.”
“To the Coast Guard and to the crew of the Stratton, thank you,” she said. “Thank you for the honor of being associated with you and your families, which I will treasure for the rest of my life. And thank you to all of you. Thank you for the job that you all do every day to keep America and its ships so strong and so proud.”
The Stratton is the third cutter in the Legend-class of NSCs designed to be the flagships of the Coast Guard’s recapitalized fleet, capable of executing the most challenging maritime safety and security missions around the globe. Eight cutters are planned for the class, which is the largest and most technologically advanced class of cutters in the service’s history.
The Stratton is 418-feet long, with a 54-foot beam and displaces 4,400 tons with a full load. It has a top speed of 28 knots, a range of 12,000 miles, an endurance of 60 days and a crew of 110. Each NSC has automated weapons systems and state-of-the-art command and control systems that enhance the Coast Guard’s interoperability with its U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security partners.
For more information on the National Security Cutter, please visit the project’s website at http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/NSC.