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New National Security Cutter James Christening

Fifth of eight Legend-class cutters

On Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014, the Coast Guard’s new national security cutter James (WMSL 754) will be christened in a ceremony at Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding yard.

The Legend-class cutter is named for Capt. Joshua James of the U.S. Lifesaving Service. James (Nov. 22, 1826 – March 19, 1902) was a mariner as well as a U.S. Lifesaving Station keeper who made the rescue of shipwrecked people his life’s work after witnessing the death of his mother and sister in a shipwreck less than half a mile from shore. He made his first rescue at 15, and was credited with saving more than 200 lives before his death at the age of 75 while still on duty. During his lifetime he was awarded the Gold Lifesaving Medal by the United States government, among many other medals.

James bow lift

The upper bow lift on the fifth U.S. Coast Guard national security cutter, James, late in 2013, brought the ship to 98 percent erected. This milestone represented the last major lift for the ship. Photo by Lance Davis

James is the fifth Legend-class national security cutter built at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss. Eight ships of the Legend class are planned. They are the largest and most technologically advanced Coast Guard cutters, and measure 418 feet in length, displacing 4700 long tons. The command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities of the class make them fully interoperable with U.S. Navy systems and allow a common operational picture with DoD and Homeland Security assets to enhance maritime domain awareness. The Legend-class ships have a main armament of a 57mm gun, the same as on the littoral combat ships, as well as several smaller caliber weapons, can embark two MH-65C helicopters or a single MH-65C or MH-60T with two vertically launched UAVs, or other combinations. They also have a stern ramp for launching long range interceptor and or short range prosecutor cutter boats. The ships have a top speed of 28 knots and can cruise 12,000 nautical miles, and replace the aging Hamilton-class cutters that are now leaving the service.