The USCGC Stone (WMSL 758) became the U.S. Coast Guard’s newest national security cutter during a commissioning ceremony Friday at Coast Guard Base Charleston. Adm. Karl Schultz, the commandant U.S. Coast Guard, presided over the ceremony. Ms. Laura Cavallo, the grandniece of the ship’s namesake and ship’s sponsor, was also in attendance. 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.
The Stone is the ninth legend-class national security cutter in the Coast Guard’s fleet. The Legend-class, national security cutters can execute 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. These new cutters are replacing the high endurance Hamilton-class cutters in service since the 1960s.Ship commissioning is the act or ceremony of placing a ship in active service.
“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 honor to serve on Stone as plank owners. Cmdr. Elmer “Archie” Fowler Stone was an aviation pioneer and cutterman who served with distinction. Now it is our turn to build upon his legacy.” – Capt. Adam Morrison, commanding officer.
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.