Building the National Security Cutter: Carrying on a legacy

The crew status board onboard Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton (WMSL 753), the Coast Guard's newest National Security Cutter. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Sarah Foster.

The crew status board onboard Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton (WMSL 753), the Coast Guard’s newest National Security Cutter. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Sarah Foster.

Serving aboard a Coast Guard Cutter named Hamilton inspires a certain pride in Coast Guard men and women. Since 1830, cutters carrying this namesake have patrolled the waters to ensure the safety and security of American citizens.

The last cutter to bear this name was decommissioned in March 2011, but the namesake continues to serve the Coast Guard and the Nation. The Coast Guard’s newest National Security Cutter carries forward this 185-year legacy that first began with Alexander Hamilton, who is often referred to as the “father of the Coast Guard.”

When Hamilton authorized the first ten cutters to serve in the Revenue Cutter Service, he budgeted only $1,000 for each of them. According to the Coast Guard’s acquisition office, the cost for a National Security Cutter is approximately $500 million, which is still extrememly conservitive by today’s standards.

Countless Coast Guard men and women have served aboard these cutters throughout history and each have contributed to the mark the name “Hamilton” has made in Coast Guard history.

Below, crewmembers aboard the newest cutter to carry on the Hamilton namesake share what it means to them to be a “Hamilton sailor.”

Crewmembers aboard Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton, the newest cutter to carry forward the Hamilton namesake, load stores for an upcoming patrol. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Sarah Foster.

Crewmembers aboard Coast Guard Cutter Hamilton, the newest cutter to carry forward the Hamilton namesake, load stores for an upcoming patrol. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Sarah Foster.

Seaman Miranda Lack

“Because Hamilton is the Father of the Coast Guard, we have a lot to live up to,” said Lack. “We have to set the standard.”

Petty Officer 3rd Class Peter Jordan III

“I appreciate being the plank owner of a cutter bearing the name of the ‘Father of the Coast Guard’,” said Jordan. “Having that special connection is an honor.”

Ensign Silvia I. Rodriguez

“To understand why Alexander Hamilton established the Revenue Cutter service is to understand the vital importance of our maritime history,” said Rodriguez. “Hamilton understood that the ability to guard our maritime borders is the key to becoming a great nation.”

Lt. Cmdr. William S. Gibson

“Alexander Hamilton realized his vision of securing our maritime borders back in 18th century by building 10 brand new cutters,” said Gibson. “We are proud to carry on his legacy of homeland security missions with new multi-mission cutters for the 21st-century.”

Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicholas Pryor

“I was stationed on the “old” Hamilton that was recently decommissioned and I’ve been fortunate to be serving aboard the “new” Hamilton,” said Pryor. “Although I appreciate the many benefits of being a plank owner, I love the same focus on the mission and camaraderie between shipmates.”

Senior Chief Traci L. Addicott

“Although we don’t serve alcohol like in the old days of the Revenue Cutter Service where crew rations included rum, brandy or whisky to guarantee job satisfaction; the current Hamilton crew’s morale is high due to the high quality, the nutrition and the choices of meals and snacks we have onboard,” said Addicott.

Hamilton, the Coast Guard's newest National Security cutter, carries on the legacy of the Hamilton namesake. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Hamilton, the Coast Guard’s newest National Security cutter, carries on the legacy of the Hamilton namesake. U.S. Coast Guard photo.

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