The Coast Guard commissioned its newest vessel during a ceremony in Charleston on Saturday.
The 418-foot Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton is just the fourth from a new generation of National Security Cutters to be delivered — and the first stationed along the Atlantic. The vessel will primarily be used for drug interdiction, pollution response, and rescue missions while stationed in Charleston Harbor. The Hamilton will have 117 crewmembers stationed aboard.
“Together with my shipmates, we’re beginning the most important milestones in the life of a cutter,” Capt. Doug Fears, Hamilton’s commanding officer, said. “The Cutter Hamilton is now officially in active service to execute the most challenging maritime security, law enforcement, and national defense missions.”
The Hamilton replaces the Gallatin, a older generation cutter that had 45 years of service when it was decommissioned in March. The vessel was transferred to the Nigerian Navy soon after its decommissioning.
Commissioning is the act of placing a Coast Guard cutter in active service. Vice Adm. William “Dean” Lee, Coast Guard Atlantic Area commander, presided over the ceremony. Ship sponsor Mrs. Linda Kapral Papp, spouse of retired Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp, ordered the ship to come to life.
The Hamilton is the sixth Coast Guard vessel named for the country’s first Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton is known in the service as the “Father of the Coast Guard,” for creating the branch’s precursor to enforce importing and tariff laws.