Building the national security cutter: Christening

Linda Kapral Papp, wife of Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp. Christens the Coast Guard’s National Security Cutter, Hamilton.  U.S. Coast Guard photo by Patrick Kelley.

Linda Kapral Papp, wife of Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp, christens the newest Coast Guard’s National Security Cutter, Hamilton. U.S. Coast Guard photo by by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

The service’s first three national security cuttersBertholf, Waesche and Stratton – have stood watch for the past three years as sentinels of the sea; but there’s about to be a new cutter on the pier, one with a very familiar name.

During a ceremony this weekend, Alexander Hamilton, the service’s fourth national security cutter, was christened. This christening marks a significant step in the Hamilton becoming an official Coast Guard cutter.

“I’m very proud to be joined today by Linda, my wife and the ship’s sponsor, as we both christened Cutter Hamilton,” said Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp. “The christening ceremony marks an important milestone in the creation of a national asset that is designed and uniquely equipped to provide a persistent water-borne presence, ensuring maritime security far from our shores.”

We last brought you the story of Hamilton when it was just 100 tons of steel. But what once started as just the backbone of the ship is now a full-fledged vessel capable of protecting Americans well into the Coast Guard’s third century of service to the nation.

An oil portrait of Alexander Hamilton by John Trumbull, 1806. National Gallery of Art.

An oil portrait of Alexander Hamilton by John Trumbull, 1806. National Gallery of Art.

Widely known as the founder of the Revenue Marine, precursor to the United States Coast Guard, Alexander Hamilton was our nation’s first secretary of the treasury. It was Hamilton who advised Congress to establish “a few armed vessels” and it was Hamilton who set the stage for the Coast Guard’s core values as he directed his newly-appointed Revenue Marine captains to “always keep in mind that [their] countrymen are freemen.”

While the christening ceremony itself is significant, it’s not about the steel and structure of the ship, it’s about those who made it all happen – from the shipbuilders and community to the crew and their families. The ceremony was a perfect time for the ship’s sponsor, Linda Kapral Papp, to reflect on families and their strength of service alongside Coast Guard men and women.

“The strength and resilience of our family members on the home front provides critical support to our Coast Guard men and women,” said Linda Kapral Papp. “It allows them to successfully carry out critical operations every day ensuring the nation’s safety and security.”

As the sponsor, she hopes to honor Hamilton’s legacy by focusing on the support servicemembers need to perform their missions around the globe.

“A ship’s sponsor is considered a permanent part of the ship’s crew and an advocate for its continued service and well-being,” said Mrs. Papp. “I take this advocacy role, both for the crew and their family, very seriously.”

As a national security cutter, Hamilton will take advantage of a superior range and endurance. With 90-day patrols, the ability to deploy two ship-helicopters and two boats, Hamilton will take on missions ranging from enforcing America’s maritime interests, to humanitarian responses.

There is still work to be done before Hamilton sets out on patrol as a fully commissioned cutter. But with a dedicated crew and equally as dedicated families, there is no doubt that Hamilton will meet the challenge.

“I look forward to assisting Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton’s ombudsman to help ensure the peak readiness of the Hamilton’s families and crew,” said Mrs. Papp. “Through all of our efforts we will honor the Hamilton legacy.”

The scene is set for the Christening the Coast Guard’s National Security Cutter, Hamilton. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

The scene is set for the christening of the Coast Guard’s newest National Security Cutter, Hamilton. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley.

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