Calhoun (WMSL 759) arrived at her homeport in North Charleston December 3 after delivery from Ingalls Shipbuilding and supporting missions throughout the Coast Guard’s Seventh and Eighth districts.
The Coast Guard accepted the delivery of the 10th national security cutter (NSC) on Oct. 13, 2023, after the initial christening ceremony in Pascagoula, Mississippi, June 4, 2022.
Calhoun is the fourth Legend-class NSC to be homeported in North Charleston, joining Coast Guard Cutters Hamilton (WMSL 753), James (WMSL 754), and Stone (WMSL 758).
Calhoun’s crew began deploying to Pascagoula in March 2023. Following an intense 37-day post-delivery period, Calhoun supported the Coast Guard’s Eighth District in response to an oil discharge approximately 20 miles northeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River in the Gulf of Mexico. Calhoun remained on scene for 48 hours, providing key offshore command and control capability to the multi-agency response.
“Our crew members have more than earned their time back home,” said Capt. Timothy Sommella, commanding officer of Calhoun. “Most of our crew has surged the past 18 months in support of other Coast Guard units to meet global commitments. The most recent deployment of over 120 days to the Gulf Coast for the cutter’s delivery and acceptance was particularly challenging but tremendously satisfying. We finally sailed away as a crew for the first time with the same commitment to excellence and determination that the ship’s namesake, the first Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, Charles L. Calhoun, displayed during his distinguished Coast Guard career. We are incredibly thankful this time of year for the personal and professional support from our friends and loved ones who stood with us, and we will continue to forge those bonds, whether at sea or ashore.”
During the remainder of Calhoun’s first patrol, Calhoun provided a forward presence in support of Homeland Security Task Force-Southeast and Operation Vigilant Sentry within the Coast Guard Seventh District’s area of responsibility to deter irregular migration and save lives in the South Florida Straits while testing its vital equipment, systems, and completing required training.
“It is a privilege to be a part of such an amazing team of professionals,” said Senior Chief Petty Officer Aaron Deluca, Calhoun’s command senior enlisted leader. “Having completed the challenges of acceptance, training, and sailing one of the most technologically advanced assets in the Coast Guard, I am excited to bring cutter Calhoun to its homeport and the community of Charleston.”
Calhoun is named to honor the first Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, Charles L. Calhoun, who was from Ocean City, Maryland. During Calhoun’s tenure, he was responsible for improving and developing many of the Coast Guard’s administrative and people-focused programs, resulting in better communications and retention efforts within the enlisted community.
Calhoun is the newest 418-foot, Legend-class cutter to join the Coast Guard fleet. The Legend-class cutter program leads the Coast Guard’s ongoing surface fleet recapitalization and, when combined with the future offshore patrol cutters, will comprise the Coast Guard’s offshore response capability for decades to come. The cutter’s primary missions are counterdrug operations, migrant interdiction, living marine resources, defense readiness, and command and control in support of U.S. Coast Guard operations worldwide and here at home.