US Coast Guard christens seventh national security cutter

Ship’s sponsor Kay Webber Cochran smashes a bottle of sparkling wine against the bow of the Ingalls-built National Security Cutter Kimball (WMSL 756). Photo: Lance Davis/HII

The U.S. Coast Guard commissioned the seventh Legend-class National Security Cutter, Kimball (WMSL 756), in a ceremony on March 4.

The Huntington Ingalls-built ship is named in honor of Sumner I. Kimball, who organized and directed the U.S. Life-Saving Service and was a pioneer in organizing all of the different facilities associated with the service into what eventually would become toady’s U.S. Coast Guard.

Kay Webber Cochran, wife of Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., is the ship’s sponsor and officially christened the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across its bow.

WMSL 756 is the third ship to bear the name Kimball. The first, WSC/WMEC-143, was commissioned in 1927 and was homeported in Pascagoula, where it served as a patrol boat until 1938. The second ship was SS Sumner I. Kimball (EC2-S-C1), a Liberty ship built in 1943. Mass-produced on a record scale during World War II to carry cargo and munitions to Europe, the Liberty ship symbolizes U.S. wartime industrial output. On return from its first trans-Atlantic voyage in 1944, EC2-S-C1 was torpedoed and sunk by a Nazi submarine, resulting in the loss of 64 American lives.

Ingalls is the sole builder of Legend-class National Security Cutters and has delivered six to the Coast Guard. Kimball is scheduled to start builder’s trials in the fourth quarter of 2017. The eighth ship, Midgett (WMSL 757) is scheduled to launch in the fourth quarter of 2017. In December 2016, Ingalls received a $486 million contract to build a ninth National Security Cutter for the U.S. Coast Guard.

Legend-class National Security Cutters are the flagships of the U.S. Coast Guard. They are 418 feet long with a 54-foot beam and displace 4,500 tons with a full load. They have a top speed of 28 knots, a range of 12,000 miles, an endurance of 60 days and a crew of 120.

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