Illuminating the path ahead

Coast Guard Cutter Kathleen Moore makes way during sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico Feb. 27, 2014. Kathleen Moore was a lighthouse keeper who saved 21 lives during the span of her career. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Coast Guard Cutter Kathleen Moore makes way during sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico Feb. 27, 2014. Kathleen Moore was a lighthouse keeper who saved 21 lives during the span of her career. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Written by Petty Officer 3rd Class Mark Barney.

Women’s History Month is one of many celebrations that remind Americans of their identities and the impact of those who have gone before us. While Women’s History Month has come to an end, the Coast Guard continues to honor women and the contributions they have made to shape the service’s history. Kathleen Moore is one of these women.

Moore became a part of America’s history through her acts of heroism during her tenure as the lighthouse keeper for Black Rock Harbor on Fayerweather Island, Conn. Although Moore wasn’t officially the lighthouse keeper until 1871, she began serving at the age of 12 in the lighthouse service with her father. Through her tenure, she was a pioneer who helped shape the Coast Guard into what it is today; a service unified through dedication and sacrifice to accomplish challenging missions.

Kathleen Moore served as keeper of the Black Rock Harbor Light on Fayerweather Island and was officially credited with saving 21 lives. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Kathleen Moore served as keeper of the Black Rock Harbor Light on Fayerweather Island and was officially credited with saving 21 lives. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Women’s contributions, like Moore’s, were a preamble for today’s Coast Guard. A modern-day service that prioritizes maritime safety and security for the maritime public without forgetting its history and those who helped write it.

During her service, Moore braved harsh elements and endured challenging times in an effort to serve and protect vessels underway and their passengers aboard. Her actions saved more than 21 lives in the span of her half-century career as a lighthouse keeper. The Coast Guard has honored Moore’s heroism by naming the ninth fast response cutter in her name.

The new fast response cutters are independently deployable vessels designed to meet a variety of missions spanning from search and rescue to national security. The 154-foot cutters are capable of speeds exceeding 25 knots at distances more than 2,000 nautical miles. With the ability to respond to a variety of scenarios, the 24-man crew must remain capable of operating and maintaining the Coast Guard’s newest vessel.

“I expect the crew aboard the cutter to be proficient with the new technology aboard that is unique to fast response cutters,” said Lt. Gregory Higgins, commanding officer of cutter Kathleen Moore. “Extensive training is a shared responsibility among all the crewmembers.”

The cutter Kathleen Moore will be homeported in Key West, Fla., and serve as the newest Coast Guard asset carrying the weight of the mission and the pride of the crew aboard.

“She spent her life working in a lighthouse and saving the lives of those out at sea,” said Fireman Lauren Moffet. “I believe she was a true hero and I can only hope that our crew will do justice to her memory. “

Some of the Coast Guard’s oldest missions demand dedicated service and inspires new generations to fill the shoes worn by the heroes before them.

“I expect my crew to uphold a high standard of operational proficiency to conduct missions within the Florida Straits,” said Higgins.

Ashley Lewis, with Coast Guard acquisitions, signs for the Coast Guard Cutter Kathleen Moore’s acceptance ceremony at Coast Guard Sector Key West, Fla., March 28, 2014. The Kathleen Moore is the third fast response cutter for Sector Key West and is named after a lighthouse keeper who served for 72 years in the Lighthouse Service. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Ashley Lewis, with Coast Guard acquisitions, signs for the Coast Guard Cutter Kathleen Moore’s acceptance ceremony at Coast Guard Sector Key West, Fla., March 28, 2014. The Kathleen Moore is the third fast response cutter for Sector Key West and is named after a lighthouse keeper who served for 72 years in the Lighthouse Service. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

America’s timeline is riddled hwith devoted citizens who have lit the path for future generations to follow. Within the Coast Guard, tales of heroism and sacrifice aren’t only occupying the text of history books, but also on the stern of cutters for all to see where Coast Guardsmen come from and where they’re going.

“Kathleen Moore’s vigilance and dedication to the lives of mariners is legendary,” said Capt. Aylwyn S. Young, Coast Guard Sector Key West commander. “Her unwavering 72 years of dedicated service as the keeper of the Black Rock Harbor light exemplifies our service’s renowned reputation as maritime guardians. The infusion of her spirit will now be honored by a new generation of Coast Guard men and women who will bring added honor to her namesake, when the Coast Guard Cutter Kathleen Moore patrols the Florida Straits and beyond.”

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