The USCGC Stone (WMSL 758) became the United States Coast Guard’s (USCG) newest national security cutter during a commissioning ceremony held at Coast Guard Base Charleston on 19 March 2021.
The cutter’s namesake comes from Cmdr. Elmer “Archie” Fowler Stone, who in 1917 became the USCG’s first aviator and, two years later, was the pilot of the NC-4, a navy airplane, which in 1919 was the first aircraft to accomplish a trans-Atlantic flight, landing in Portugal.
Christened in late February 2021 at Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) shipyard, Stone is the ninth legend-class national security cutter in the USCG’s fleet.
The Legend-class, national security cutters can execute the most challenging national security missions, including support to U.S. combatant commanders.
They are 418 feet in length, 54 feet in beam, and 4,600 long tons in displacement. They have a top speed of more than 28 knots, a range of 12,000 nautical miles, an endurance of up to 90 days, and can hold a crew of up to 150. These new cutters are replacing the high endurance Hamilton-class cutters in service since the 1960s.
The Stone launched in October 2019, for sea trials. Following sea trials, the crew conducted their maiden voyage Operation Southern Cross, a patrol to the South Atlantic supporting counter illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.
Taking the newly-accepted cutter on its shakedown cruise, Stone’s crew covered over 21,000 miles (18,250 nautical miles) over 68 days. A mutual interest in combating IUUF activities offered an opportunity to collaborate for Stone’s crew. They interacted with partners in Guyana, Brazil, Uruguay, and Portugal, strengthening relationships and laying the foundation for increased partnerships to counter illicit maritime activity.
While on its maiden voyage, the USCGC Stone encountered and interdicted a suspected narcotic trafficking vessel south of the Dominican Republic last week. As a result, around 970 kg of cocaine was discovered.