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Ingalls Shipbuilding christens its ninth Coast Guard cutter

Ship sponsor Laura Cavallo, center, christens Stone (NSC 9), the Legend-class cutter named for Cavallo’s great uncle, Elmer “Archie” Fowler Stone ,who was a pioneer in Coast Guard aviation. Also pictured, left to right, are Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.); Alexandra Stone Bongiorno, matron of honor; Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias; Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Commandant of the Coast Guard, Adm. Karl Schultz.

LANCE DAVIS/HUNTINGTON INGALLS

By WARREN KULO | GulfLive | Published: March 3, 2020

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (Tribune News Service) — Ingalls Shipbuilding christened the ninth U.S. Coast Guard National Security Cutter to be built at the Pascagoula shipyard during ceremonies Saturday morning.

Ingalls and Coast Guard officials were on hand as NSC Stone (WMSL 758) was christened in front of hundreds of dignitaries and others.

“Today we celebrate the time and talents our shipbuilders have invested in this incredible ship,” said Ingalls president Brian Cuccias. “The success of the National Security Cutter program is a direct reflection of our strong partnership with the Coast Guard and the dedication and capability of a team of Ingalls shipbuilders that continues to successfully deliver some of the most challenging manufacturing projects in the world.”

The Stone is named for Coast Guard officer Cmdr. Elmer “Archie” Fowler Stone, who made history in 1919 as one of two Coast Guard pilots who successfully made the first transatlantic flight in a Navy seaplane.

Stone’s great niece, Laura Cavallo, served as the ship sponsor and officially christened the ship, breaking the traditional bottle of champagne across a metal frame at the ship’s bow.

Among those speaking at Saturday’s event were U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Karl Schultz and Vice Commandant Adm. Charles Ray, along with U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo.

“Over the last four years, we as a Coast Guard have interdicted two million pounds of illicit drugs,” Schultz said. “These modern cutters allow our nation to advance all of our national interests, and the success wouldn’t be possible without the partnership that we find right here in Pascagoula with HII (Huntington Ingalls Industries).”

“I visited Stone before she was in the water last year, and I talked to some of the shipbuilders,” Ray said. “You could tell that they weren’t just building a ship, they were building a Coast Guard cutter. They were building a ship that was going to do the deeds our nation needed them to do.”

“We are here with a company, Ingalls Shipbuilding, that believes in its more than 11,000 workers, invests in state-of-the-art safety methods and has a corporate philosophy that relies on its own workers to develop better productivity techniques,” Wicker said.

“When we see the capabilities of our Coast Guard today, we are amazed and truly impressed that we stand on the shoulders of Elmer Stone. We are gleaming and beaming today and we are glad to honor the memory of this great American.”

The Legend-class NSC is the largest, most technologically-advanced ship in the Coast Guard fleet, which enables it to meet the requirements for maritime and homeland security, law enforcement, marine safety, environmental protection and national defense missions.

NSCs are 418 feet long with 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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