COAST GUARD ISLAND, ALAMEDA, Calif.-- Michael Chertoff, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, speaks during the commissioning of the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf. Bertholf is the lead ship in the new Legend Class of cutters designed to be the flagship of the Coast Guard fleet. It is one of the most advanced military vessels in the world and will help the U.S. Coast Guard to respond to America's maritime needs well into the 21st Century. U.S. Coast Guard photo by PA2 Brian N. Leshak.
The U.S. Coast Guard reached another major milestone in its ongoing recapitalization efforts on August 4, 2008 when it formally commissioned the first National Security Cutter, USCGC BERTHOLF (WMSL 750) at her homeport of Coast Guard Island in Alameda, Calif.
CGC BERTHOLF arrived in Alameda on July 23, 2008, following sea trials earlier this year and its maiden voyage from the Northrop Grumman Ship Building facility in Pascagoula, Miss., where it was built.
As part of the Coast Guard’s Deepwater major acquisition program, the eight planned National Security Cutters will be the flagships of the Coast Guard fleet, replacing the 12 aging 378‐ft Hamilton class High Endurance Cutters.
As is common for any new U.S. Navy or Coast Guard ship, CGC BERTHOLF will have several underway and in‐ port periods over the next 22 to 24 months for final outfitting and to test the cutter’s engineering, electronic, and combat systems, preparing the cutter for world‐wide deployment.
CGC BERTHOLF represents a giant leap forward in capability for the Coast Guard’s surface fleet. She sails with state‐of‐the‐market technologies and characteristics needed by Coast Guard men and women to meet the full spectrum of 21st century maritime safety, security and stewardship mission requirements. CGC BERTHOLF’s longer range, endurance, and ability to carry onboard assets, including two helicopters, three small boats, and, eventually, unmanned aerial systems will allow the cutter to more effectively conduct multi‐mission operations at greater ranges from the continental United States, providing enhanced protection for the nation. Additionally, the crew can screen and target suspect vessels faster, more safely and reliably before they arrive in U.S. waters – to include conducting onboard verification through boardings and, if necessary, taking enforcement or control actions against potential threats. And, CGC BERTHOLF boasts much‐improved habitability, including two, four and six‐person berthing areas for all personnel and an on‐board cardio and weight training room, allowing the crew to better withstand the arduous sea duty they will face during lengthy open ocean patrols in the North Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea.
The dual milestones of delivery and commissioning of CGC BERTHOLF, along with the christening of the second NSC, Waesche (WMSL 751), on July 26, 2008, would not have been possible without the significant acquisition reforms introduced by Coast Guard Commandant, Admiral Thad Allen, during the last two years. Constructive oversight by the Congress, as well as the Government Accountability Office and the DHS Office of the Inspector General helped to illustrate the need for acquisition reform and accelerate its implementation.
CGC BERTHOLF is named for Commodore Ellsworth Price Bertholf, the first Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, who oversaw the merger of the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service and the U.S. Life Saving Service in 1915 to form the U.S. Coast Guard. Prior to serving as first commandant, he served as an officer in the Revenue Cutter Service from 1889‐1919.
For more information on the National Security Cutter, please visit the project’s website at http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/NSC.