The US Coast Guard officially welcomed the ninth vessel of its flagship Legend-class of national security cutters to its fleet with a commissioning ceremony in Charleston, South Carolina, on March 19.
Adm. Karl Schultz, the commandant of the US Coast Guard, presided over the USCGC Stone (WMSL 758) commissioning ceremony.
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.
Stone belongs to the class of the largest and most advanced vessels in the Coast Guard’s fleet. Measuring 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. These new cutters are replacing the high endurance Hamilton-class cutters in service since the 1960s.
The Legend-class is armed with six .50 caliber machine guns, one MK 110 57 mm turret mounted gun, 3D air search radar, aircraft hangers and a stern launch ramp for mission boats.
The Stone launched on Oct. 4, 2019, for sea trials. Following sea trials, the crew conducted their maiden voyage Operation Southern Cross, a patrol to the South Atlantic supporting counter illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
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. They interacted with partners in Guyana, Brazil, Uruguay, and Portugal, strengthening relationships and laying the foundation for increased partnerships to counter illicit maritime activity.
Interestingly, the commissioning ceremony for USCGC Stone took place on the same day as the commissioning ceremony for Japan’s final Maya-class destroyer JS Haguro, and the Philippine Navy’s frigate BRP Antonio Luna.