Stratton sails away

UPDATE: Photo captions were corrected to give credit to Carol (Rene’) Shaw rather than Huntington Ingalls Industries.

Written by Brian Olexy, Coast Guard Acquisition Directorate

The third of eight planned national security cutters, Stratton, bid farewell to the Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyards last week.

Stratton will transit up the East Coast throughout the month, making stops in Pensacola, Fla., Charleston, S.C., and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor before heading to Alameda, Calif., where the ship will be homeported alongside the first two national security cutters, Coast Guard Cutters Bertholf and Waesche.

Stratton was christened by first lady Michelle Obama July 23, 2010, and was delivered to the Coast Guard last month at an “in-commission special” ceremony in Pascagoula, Miss. During this period, Stratton’s crew will gain hands-on experience with the cutter’s systems and operations. Stratton will be commissioned in spring 2012, at which time she’ll officially enter the operational fleet.

Check out the the below photos for an insider perspective as Stratton sailed away from the docks to soon join both Bertholf and Waesche as the most capable ships in the nation’s cutter fleet.

Stratton sits at the pier ready to depart. Once part of the operational fleet Stratton will be able to carry out more complex missions over greater distances. Photo courtesy of Carol (Rene') Shaw.

Stratton sits at the pier ready to depart. Once part of the operational fleet Stratton will be able to carry out more complex missions over greater distances. Photo courtesy of Carol (Rene’) Shaw.

Stratton pushes away from the pier. The 418-foot vessel has the command and control capabilities to provide government leadership with the timely information necessary for decision making in a crisis. Photo courtesy of Carol (Rene') Shaw.

Stratton pushes away from the pier. The 418-foot vessel has the command and control capabilities to provide government leadership with the timely information necessary for decision making in a crisis. Photo courtesy of Carol (Rene’) Shaw.

Stratton will have the ability to deploy two ship-helicopters and two boats on missions ranging from enforcing America’s Exclusive Economic Zone to humanitarian response and search and rescue. Photo courtesy of Carol (Rene') Shaw.

Stratton will have the ability to deploy two ship-helicopters and two boats on missions ranging from enforcing America’s Exclusive Economic Zone to humanitarian response and search and rescue. Photo courtesy of Carol (Rene’) Shaw.

The national security cutter will replace the aging 378-foot high endurance Hamilton-class cutters that have been in service since the 1960s. Photo courtesy of Carol (Rene') Shaw.

The national security cutter will replace the aging 378-foot high endurance Hamilton-class cutters that have been in service since the 1960s. Photo courtesy of Carol (Rene’) Shaw.

Stratton heads to sea ready to make stops in Pensacola, Fla., Charleston, S.C., and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor before heading to Alameda, Calif., where the ship will be homeported. Photo courtesy of Carol (Rene') Shaw.

Stratton heads to sea ready to make stops in Pensacola, Fla., Charleston, S.C., and Baltimore’s Inner Harbor before heading to Alameda, Calif., where the ship will be homeported. Photo courtesy of Carol (Rene’) Shaw.

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  • skip

    all the pics make it look like it is listing starboard

  • Plnkownr87349

    are the dates of the port calls going to be posted on the internet?

  • Erin

    I agree.

  • george morrison

    yes it does BMC retired uscg

  • 2c

    I also believe in is listing, but I hope it is an optical illusion.

  • sea2air

    @skip: That’s because it probably is. Coming off the line, this class will inherently list to starboard due to it’s design characteristics. Once fully loaded for operations the list (if any at all) will be unnoticeable.

  • Paul

    Agreed! I was thinking the same thing! I’ve been aboard the large buoy tenders Willow and Juniper and they did not list (!)… maybe they haven’t got their ballast tanks (?) set right…!

  • Stephen

    That’s not the pictures doing it. Ballast issue?

  • Ryan Erickson

    I had to take another look myself, but perhaps there was a strong wind pushing her over? Maybe?

  • Russ

    Comparing first picture waterline to others also indicates starboard list.

  • Pieter Kindberg

    I commissioned the Bertholf, and they naturally list to Starboard due to all the Generator sets being on the Starboard side. To offset it we had to ballance the side fuel tanks.

  • UKNOWIT

    The list will probably be offset by their ammunition load out. Or, they’ll take on the ammo and capsize.

  • anthony

    when will it be in baltimore???

  • cj

    Yes indeed. It’s listing. It hasn’t been outfitted with hiking straps yet. After they get installed, the crew will be able to straighten it out…

    : )

  • Tony

    @Plkownr Will the dates of the port calls published on the internet? The dates of any port call by any Cutter should never be posted on the internet. OPSEC…

  • GP

    I just hope this one came out with fewer problems than the first ones.
    It sucks to buy a new car and have to sit at the mechanic for 2 years to get things running right.

  • Mike

    Shoulda comissioned another 378 and called it good! Looks like its “limping” away from the shipyard… what a mess.

  • bob

    Here is where the Fuel Oil and water king comes into play. When I was on the 378 I had to keep a “0″ bubble at all times….Maybe the E.O. should keep him on his toes lol

  • Spamlover

    @Plnkownr87349 : Tony is right. You should NOT be expecting to see the port calls posted on the internet as it would be a major operational security violation.

  • Old Brit

    How long will it sit in a dockside availability in Alameda before it goes on patrol? According to the original deepwater plan the Coast Guard should have six of these vessels so far and only three WHECs left. I question the notion that these vessels are the most capable in the fleet.

  • Capt Mac

    Last I saw her in Pensacola she was upright. Her starboard list was due to not being able to transfer fuel to the port tanks. She is running just fine now. The best of the 3 so far. With my apologies to her big brothers!

  • Mike

    The photos were inspiring. That profile will be a welcomed sight to those in distress, and instill fear into those who wish to bring bad things into our country, or rob us of our resources.

    That is truly a fine looking class of cutters!

  • JCOASTIE

    waste of money

  • Bob C

    I’m not a marine architect but I am a retired Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer and I’ve never known a ship to be designed to list. The ship should be trim loaded or empty; you use ballast to compensate as you load out things like fuel, ammo, etc.

    If you have a five or ten degree list built into the ship empty and expect to compensate for that with fuel or ammo you will find the list will return once you deplete those stores; it would be like driving a car with blown shocks on one side.

  • steve

    @Tony OPSEC? I agree that locations of operational cutters on LE patrols should be protected, but Stratton’s on her publicity tour to the Capital before she gets her butt to the left coast and to work. HQ wants the public, the media and our elected officials, who kindly appropriate future NSC funding, to greet the mighty warship Stratton at her port calls.

  • DC1

    I cant believe their letting her sail out of there looking like that with a starboard list

  • NNM

    Have a safe voyage! Enjoy your new ship!

  • nnm

    Have a safe voyage! Enjoy the new ship!

  • TT

    This listing is for protection. It list oposite of land or the dock to help deflect small and medium arms fire.

  • Joseph

    Speaking of OPSEC, why are we discussing the internals of the ship? Giving the enemy knowledge of where everything is located internally is also not a good idea. I get that you all have the engineering niche in common but seriously? @Tony good call raising the OPSEC issue on the schedule. Just saying!

  • Matt

    @UKNOWIT: Everyone’s observations are correct: It does have a starboard list. Every WMSL class cutter has a natural stbd list based on the design as Pieter mentioned, and unfortunately this list is present even fully loaded. Ammo does help weigh the boat down, but it is rather negligible to the list. The liquid load has to be altered (i.e. not all tanks filled to a 95% design capacity) and deployable assets (i.e. helicopter(s) and small boats) must be arranged in such a way to keep an even list/trim….

    …or one of everyone’s legs just grows longer than the other…

  • CB

    Another “First” for the Coast Guard…..designing a ship with a 10 degree starboard list. Easy fix; everyone sleeps on port side and must stay in the rack when not on watch.

  • cindi pape

    Listing doesn’t ever seem like a good thing to me. What are the advantages of designing a ship that will naturally lisit?

  • Matt

    To clarify, it is not designed to list. However, when the ship sit in its originally designed loading capacity, it lists, which means that something between theoretical and actual is not calculated correctly.

  • Matt

    @Cindi – Well obviously they’re hoping to pay for the next generation of security cutters with the payouts from the American Ships with Disabilities Fund on the current generation. :-)

  • Mickey Feeley

    Good to see the attention to OPSEC. In some cases it is good for bad guy to be aware of our capabilities because of the deterrent value. In other cases we must protect our capabilities keep the operational advantage. I found the discussion on the ship listing interesting because I saw it too and was wondering if I was just seeing things.

    Mickey Feeley
    U.S. Coast Guard OPSEC Program Manager
    Headquarters Coast Guard (DCMS-341)

  • Mike Bee

    For anyone wondering who the STRATTON is named for, here is a link to a 1999 magazine article commemorating Dorothy Stratton’s 100th birthday. CAPT Stratton was the first woman to become a Coast Guard officer, serving as director of the the Coast Guard SPARs (Semper Paratus, Always Ready) in World War II and after the war went on to be an impactful leader in academia.

  • Russ

    In order to get future funding through the republican house, the ship has to lean to the right.

  • LT Connie Braesch

    Mike, thank-you for your comment. Unfortunately, the blog’s commenting system blocks links for spam protection. If you could, please let us know what to search for online or provide the link in another format.

    Regards,
    Lt. Connie Braesch
    Coast Guard public affairs

  • Ross Williams

    I think I saw her on NCIS. Looks good.

  • Megan Blair

    I am so proud of this cutter as it was named after my great Aunt Dorothy! She was a wonderful and very smart woman!

  • Mike Bee

    Sorry that the link didn’t come through. You can find the April 1999 edition of The Coast Guard Reservist magazine featuring CAPT Stratton at uscg.mil/reservist/1990s_mag.asp. You can also find CAPT Stratton’s official biography on the uscg.mil web page, search “dorothy stratton”.