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New Cutter: 60 Years of Lifesaving Commemorated

Cutter James

By MarEx 2015-08-09 02:15:20

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter James, a 418-ft National Security Cutter, entered into active service on August 8, 2015 at U.S. Coast Guard Base Boston. The cutter will be homeported in Charleston, South Carolina.

This latest addition to the Atlantic cutter fleet is named after Joshua James, one of the most celebrated lifesaver in U.S. Coast Guard history, credited with saving hundreds of lives from the age of 15 when he first joined the Massachusetts Humane Society until his death at the age of 75 while on duty with the U.S. Life-Saving Service. He was honored with the highest medals of the Humane Society, the United States, and many other organizations.

The former Superintendent of the U.S. Life-Saving Service, Sumner Kimball said this of Joshua James, “Here and there may be found men in all walks of life who neither wonder nor care how much or how little the world thinks of them. They pursue life’s pathway, doing their appointed tasks without ostentation, loving their work for the work’s sake, content to live and do in the present rather than look for the uncertain rewards of the future. To them notoriety, distinction, or even fame, acts neither as a spur nor a check to endeavor, yet they are really among the foremost of those who do the world’s work. Joshua James was one of these.”

The commissioning ceremony featured Commandant Admiral Paul Zukunft. “Joshua James began his life-saving career at 15 and saved more than 600 lives,” said Zukunft. “What better namesake for a ship and crew that will serve our nation with pride for the next half century saving lives, stopping smugglers, maintaining safety and security in the Arctic and wherever national objectives may require.”

The Legend-class national security cutter is the centerpiece of the Coast Guard’s fleet, capable of executing the most challenging operations, including supporting maritime homeland security and defense missions.

The largest and most technologically advanced of the Coast Guard’s newest classes of cutters, the national security cutters replace the aging 378-foot high endurance cutters, which have been in service since the 1960s. Compared to legacy cutters, the national security cutters’ design provides better sea-keeping and higher sustained transit speeds, greater endurance and range, and the ability to launch and recover small boats from astern, as well as aviation support facilities and a flight deck for helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.

The ship sponsor, Charlene Benoit, who is the great-great niece of Joshua James said, “On behalf of my family, we are grateful to the Coast Guard and the commissioning committee for honoring our forbearer this way. We also thank you for bringing Cutter James to its commissioning in Boston for it was here in these waters where it all began over 150 years ago.”

National Security Cutters

Number Planned: 8
Length: 418 feet
Beam: 54 feet
Draft: 22 feet 6 inches
Displacement: 4,500 tons
Maximum Speed: 28 knots
Range: 12,000 nautical miles
Endurance: 60- to 90-day patrol cycles

Cutter James

Propulsion System:
•     Two MTU 20V 1163 marine diesel engines
•     One General Electric LM2500 main gas turbine

Electrical System:
•     Three Caterpillar 3512B ship’s service diesel generators.

Shipboard Collective Protection System
Weapons Systems
•     One Mk 160 gun fire-control system
•     One Mk 110 57-mm naval gun system
•     One Phalanx 20-mm close-in weapon system
•     Two Mk 53 Nulka decoy launching systems
•     Two Mk 36 Super Rapid Blooming Offboard Countermeasures chaff launching systems
•     Four .50-caliber machine guns
•     Two M240B 7.62-mm machine guns