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Two Security Cutters Commissioned in Honolulu

Credit: U.S. Coast Guard
Credit: U.S. Coast Guard

By The Maritime Executive 2019-08-25 00:39:40

The U.S Coast Guard’s two newest national security cutters were commissioned on Saturday in Honolulu.

The Coast Guard Cutter Kimball (WMSL 756) and the Coast Guard Cutter Midgett (WMSL 757) will homeport at Base Honolulu. They are the seventh and eighth legend-class national security cutters in the Coast Guard’s fleet and will join three other fast response cutters in Honolulu.

Known as the Legend-class, national security cutters are capable of executing the most challenging national security missions, including support to U.S. combatant commanders. They are 418 feet in length, 54 feet in beam and 4,600 long tons in displacement. They have a top speed of more than 28 knots, a range of 12,000 nautical miles, an endurance of up to 90 days and can hold a crew of up to 150. 

The new cutters are replacing the high endurance Hamilton-class cutters (378 feet) that have been in service since the 1960s.

The ceremony was presided over by Adm. Karl Schultz, the Coast Guard’s commandant. “These national security cutters will continue our 150 years of partnership and commitment to the Pacific region - since September 1849, when Revenue Cutter Lawrence sailed into Honolulu Harbor escorted by Native Hawaiians in outrigger canoes,” said Schultz.  “In today’s complex geostrategic environment with rising great power competition, the importance and demand for a strong Coast Guard presence in the Pacific has never been greater.”

Midgett is named to honor all members of the Midgett family who served in the Coast Guard and its predecessor services. At least 10 members of the family earned high honors for their heroic life-saving efforts. Among them, the Coast Guard awarded various family members seven gold lifesaving medals, the service's highest award for saving a life, and three silver lifesaving medals.

The Kimball is the third ship to bear that name, in honor of Sumner Kimball, who served as superintendent of the Revenue Marine and as general superintendent of the Life-Saving Service from 1878 until the two organizations merged in 1915 to become the modern-day U.S. Coast Guard.

The Midgett's transit to Hawaii was punctuated by two interdictions of suspected low-profile go-fast vessels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, the first July 25 and a second July 31. The boardings resulted in a combined seizure of over 6,700 pounds of cocaine, estimated to be worth over $89 million.

National security cutters are responsible for 40 percent of the 460,000 pounds of cocaine interdicted by the Coast Guard in the fiscal year 2018. National security cutter crews have interdicted more than 92,000 pounds of cocaine to date in the fiscal year 2019.