July 26, 2008 marked an important milestone in the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Security Cutter (NSC) project as it christened the second cutter of the class, Waesche (WMSL 751). The christening ceremony, or formal naming of the ship, took place at the Northrop Grumman Ship Building in Pascagoula, Miss.Fabrication of Waesche began on April 3, 2006 and its keel was laid on Sept. 11, 2006.
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 at‐sea trials in 2009.
Unlike christenings of the past, which took place when a ship was launched, the Waesche has been in the water since the morning of July 12, 2008, when it was floated off its building site. The float‐off, which was the first time the Waesche entered the water, began on the evening of July 11. The float‐off involved moving the ship across land on a rail transfer system and ended with the ship being moored pier side. 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 recapitalization 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.
Next Steps (based on current schedule):
For more information on the National Security Cutter, please visit the project’s website at http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/NSC.