The U.S. Coast Guard held an “in-commission special” ceremony to acknowledge preliminary acceptance of the third National Security Cutter, Stratton, Sept. 2 in Pascagoula, Miss. “In-commission special” status begins when the Coast Guard crew takes possession of the vessel and moves aboard the cutter.
Not to be confused with a formal commissioning ceremony, the “in-commission special” ceremony represents the official transfer of ownership from the shipbuilder to the Coast Guard. Preliminary acceptance and delivery is a major milestone in Stratton’s transition to full operational status in the Coast Guard’s fleet.
The ceremony marked the Coast Guard’s conditional acceptance of the cutter and documented the cutter’s inspection, delivery by the shipbuilder and receipt by the government. The Coast Guard’s Assistant Commandant for Acquisition, Rear Adm. John H. Korn, presided over the ceremony on the cutter’s flight deck and handed the keys to Stratton’s Prospective Commanding Officer, Capt. Charles Cashin.
"It’s an understatement to say that a lot of work goes into getting a cutter ready for delivery to the Coast Guard,” Korn said. “Stratton recently completed builder's trials and acceptance trials, where the ship had to pass more than 60 tests, adding up to a total of more than 400 tests, which have to be passed leading up to acceptance."
Stratton is scheduled to depart Pascagoula for Pensacola, Fla., on her first sail away around Oct. 7. The cutter is expected to depart Pensacola for its homeport of Alameda, Calif., near the end of October. Final acceptance of Stratton will occur following a year-long warranty period and completion of final acceptance trials.
The Stratton is named for Capt. Dorothy Stratton, who became the first director of the U.S. Coast Guard Women’s Reserve, known as the SPARs, in 1942. The Stratton is the first Coast Guard cutter to be sponsored by a first lady and was christened by Michelle Obama on July 23, 2010.
The 418-foot Stratton is the third ship in the Legend-class of National Security Cutters (NSCs) designed to be the flagship of the Coast Guard’s recapitalized fleet, capable of executing the most challenging maritime safety and security missions around the globe. The first two NSCs, Bertholf and Waesche, are fully operational and performing missions in the field. The Coast Guard plans to acquire eight NSCs.
More information on the National Security Cutter can be found online at: http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/nsc/default.asp.