Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding division christened the company’s fifth U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter (NSC), James (WMSL 754) on August 16.
Charlene James Benoit, great-great niece of the ship’s namesake, Capt. Joshua James, is the ship sponsor. At the culmination of the ceremony, Benoit smashed a bottle across the bow of the ship, proclaiming, “May God bless this ship and all who sail in her.”
“The boundaries surrounding illegal migrant activity, weapons, drug smuggling and terrorism continue to blur and converge,” said Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger, vice commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and the ceremony’s principal speaker. “The challenges created by that convergence require a 21st century Joshua James. We need his spirit and his adherence to our values. We need his adaptability, his staying power and his multi-mission focus.
“As we take Joshua James’ legacy with us from the 19th century into the future, we do so in the face of one of the most challenging times in Coast Guard history,” Neffenger continued. “New challenges, driven by complex and uncertain times, require new ways of thinking, new strategies and the right platforms for 21st century mission execution. Platforms like the National Security Cutter.”
Speaking of the Ingalls shipbuilders, HII CEO and President Mike Petters said, “Like Capt. James, we are not motivated by notoriety, distinction or fame. The work is its own reward. We love building these ships, and we would love to build more. And we love knowing they help save lives—while also protecting our American way of life.”
Ingalls has delivered three NSCs, and three more, including James, are currently under construction. A seventh NSC, Kimball WMSL 756, is scheduled to begin construction in early 2015. James is scheduled to deliver next summer.