Defense Media Network

National Security Cutter James to Join the Coast Guard’s Fleet


The U.S. Coast Guard’s latest 418-foot Legend-class national security cutter, James (WSML 754), is scheduled to be commissioned Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, in Boston.

The CGC James is the fifth of eight planned national security cutters – the largest and most technologically advanced class of cutters in the Coast Guard’s fleet. The cutters’ design provides better seakeeping, higher sustained transit speeds, greater endurance and range, and the ability to launch and recover smallboats from astern, as well as aviation support facilities and a flight deck for helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles, providing a platform for complex law enforcement, national security, and defense missions.

  • Length: 418 feet
  • Beam: 54 feet
  • Displacement: 4,500 long tons full load
  • Speed: up to 28 knots
  • Range: 12,000 nautical miles
  • Endurance: 60 days
  • Crew complement: 122
  • Armament: Mk. 110 57 mm gun; Phalanx 20 mm close-in weapon system; Mk. 53 decoy launching system (NULKA); and four M2 .50-caliber machine guns

The NSCs will replace the aging 378-foot high endurance cutters, which entered service during the 1960s.


The CGC James on builders trials in the Gulf of Mexico March 30, 2015. Ingalls Shipbuilding/Lance Davis

“New challenges, driven by complex and uncertain times, require new ways of thinking, new strategies and the right platforms for 21st century mission execution,” said Coast Guard Vice Commandant Vice Adm. Peter Neffenger at the Aug. 16, 2014, christening ceremony for the CGC James. “Platforms like the national security cutter.”

Christened at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, James will be homeported in Charleston, South Carolina, the second NSC to be homeported on the East Coast, alongside the fourth NSC, Hamilton. The four NSCs already in service are the Bertholf, Waesche, Stratton, and Hamilton.

The cutter is named for Capt. Joshua James of the United States Life-Saving Service, one of the forerunners of the Coast Guard. James is credited with saving more than 600 lives from the age of 15 until the time of his death at 75 years of age. He is considered one of the most celebrated lifesavers in the world. The cutter’s sponsor, Charlene Benoit, is the great-great-niece of the ship’s namesake.