The USCGC Stone (WMSL 758) has become the Coast Guard’s newest national security cutter. According to officials, the Stone is the ninth legend-class national security cutter in the Coast Guard’s fleet, able to execute the most challenging national security missions.
Adm. Karl Schultz, the commandant U.S. Coast Guard, presided over a commissioning ceremony for the Stone that took place on 19th March at Coast Guard Base in Charleston, South Carolina.
The cutter’s namesake comes from Cmdr. Elmer “Archie” Fowler Stone, who in 1917 became the Coast Guard’s first aviator and, two years later, was the pilot of the NC-4, a Navy airplane, which in 1919 was the first aircraft to accomplish a trans-Atlantic flight, landing in Portugal. Ms. Laura Cavallo, the grandniece of the ship’s namesake and ship’s sponsor, was also in attendance at the ceremony
Following sea trials from its initial launch in October 2019, the Stone’s crew conducted their maiden voyage Operation Southern Cross, a patrol to the South Atlantic supporting counter illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
Cutters are usually 418 feet in length, 54 feet in beam, and 4,600 long tons in displacement, with 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. These new cutters have been replacing the high endurance Hamilton-class cutters in service since the 1960s.
Taking the newly accepted cutter on its shakedown cruise, Stone’s crew covered over 21,000 miles (18,250 nautical miles) over 68 days. A mutual interest in combating IUUF activities offered an opportunity to collaborate for Stone’s crew, who were able to interact with partners in Guyana, Brazil, Uruguay, and Portugal – strengthening relationships and laying the foundation for increased partnerships to counter illicit maritime activity.
Commanding officer, Capt. Adam Morrison stated: “Coast Guard Cutter Stone’s commissioning formally brings to life the most technologically advanced and capable cutter serving in the U.S. Coast Guard. The crew and I are very proud of this moment, as it is an honour to serve on Stone as plank owners.”