Names for First Eleven OPCs Announced–Prematurely

Coast Guard public affairs asked me to take down this post, as previously written, because “The page was still under construction and not meant for public release.” The page that provided the information is no longer accessible.

That would seem to explain the gaps in the explanation of the significance of the names to Coast Guard history that I noted.

My comments about the type designations stand.


I am once again reminded how much I hate the WMSM and WMSL designations. They violate all the norms of ship type designation. Why don’t we just designate both class WPF–Coast Guard Patrol Frigate. The 75 Coast Guard manned frigates of WWII were designated PFs. It might even help the Commandant’s plea, that the Coast Guard be funded as a military service, if the vessel descriptions sounded more like warships.

15 thoughts on “Names for First Eleven OPCs Announced–Prematurely

  1. Pickering was not a revenue cutter. Her captain never had a revenue cutter commission.
    Reliance has no real history to illustrate.
    I’d rather see Louisiana on one. Then there is Sam Patch.

    • That does have the advantage of experience and longevity. I would prefer them to WMSL and WMSM, but they also do not reflect international designation conventions.

  2. This is too bad, I am sure if you reviewed the Bio’s of the Flag Corp you would find many of those same names. Below is my article from the May issue of USNI Proceedings:

    Name Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Cutters for Officers

    By Captain Patrick Flynn, U.S. Coast Guard (Retired)

    The time has passed for naming major Coast Guard cutters after Treasury or Service Secretaries. The new national security cutters will bear a hodgepodge of names, some officers, some enlisted, and the first Treasury Secretary. The fast response cutters are being named for enlisted heroes, a well-deserved honor. Offshore patrol cutters should be named for officer heroes.

    There are plenty of candidates who exemplify the Coast Guard’s history, serve as role models, and whose lead we should try to follow. They include then–First Lieutenant Frank Newcomb, U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, who became Commodore of the U.S. Coast Guard. While in command of the revenue cutter Hudson, his leadership during the Spanish American War saved the USS Winslow. Congress awarded him a gold medal, the Cardenas Medal of Honor, which is on display at the Coast Guard Academy Museum in New London, Connecticut. The resolution tells what happened:

    Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That in recognition of the gallantry of First Lieutenant Frank H. Newcomb, of the Revenue-Cutter Service, commanding the revenue cutter Hudson, his officers and the men of his command, for their intrepid and heroic gallantry in the action at Cardenas, Cuba, on the eleventh day of May, eighteen hundred and ninety-eight, when the Hudson rescued the United States naval torpedo boat Winslow in the face of a most galling fire from the enemy’s guns, the Winslow being disabled, her captain wounded, her only other officer and half her crew killed. The commander of the Hudson kept his vessel in the very center of the hottest fire of the action, until finally he got a line made fast to the Winslow and towed that vessel out of range of the enemy’s guns.

    The Navy, acting on the recommendation of Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Russell Waesche, named a ship for him in World War II. The Coast Guard has never so honored him.

    Captain Quentin R. Walsh is another officer whose name should be commemorated. For his actions in and around Cherbourg beginning 9 June 1944, he received the Navy Cross. The citation reads:

    Heroism as Commanding Officer of a U.S. Naval party reconnoitering the naval facilities and naval arsenal at Cherbourg June 26 and 27, 1944. While in command of a reconnaissance party, Commander Walsh entered the port of Cherbourg and penetrated the eastern half of the city, engaging in street fighting with the enemy. He accepted the surrender and disarmed 400 of the enemy force at the naval arsenal and later received unconditional surrender of 350 enemy troops and, at the same time, released 52 captured U.S. Army paratroopers. His determination and devotion to duty were instrumental in the surrender of the last inner fortress of the Arsenal.

    Among many others, these two officers deserve recognition for behavior that exemplifies the Coast Guard at its finest. Let’s name the future workhorses of the fleet for the likes of them, so that they may inspire future generations.

    Captain Flynn enlisted in 1973 and rose through the ranks, advancing to CPO in 1984 and CWO in 1985. He was commissioned a lieutenant in 1992 and was the executive officer of the Coast Guard Support Command in New Orleans during the Hurricane Katrina response. At retirement in 2013, he was an Office Chief in Coast Guard Headquarters.

    • My feelings are similar though I would have included enlisted heroes. In fact three years ago I recommended that the first of class be named for Newcomb. Since then I have been preparing a post with a list of possible hero names. Other heroes here including Walsh.

      It may be indicative of the poor research that went into this that the list failed to include links to explanations of the history of the name in four of the eleven cases. Note the link attached to Alert was actually for Reliance.

      • I wish we could go back and rename the NSC’s. If it was up to me I’d name them after legendary personnel, or cutters of the RCS, or USCG. There would be no White hulls with the name Joshua James. And only white hulls could be called cutters. The coast guard fleet would consist of Cutters, Tenders, and Ice Breakers, and their sub groups.

        Cutters would be named after RCS, and USCG personal, famous cutters, or the battles they fought.(example Newcomb, Hudson, Cardenas)

        Tenders would be named after lighthouse keepers, or famous decommisiond lighthouses on behalf of the former lighthouse service.

        PIB would be named after famous artic explores. Both navy and USCG. T-AKE-4 should be called something else, so Byrd can go to one of the new PIB’s.

  3. Well I still believe that the lead ship should be named for Newcomb and as far as O vr E I believe that the CG is having a hard time naming the FRC’s without stretching the definition of hero.

    • The Coast Guard has no shortage of enlisted heroes, but they are naming vessels not simply on the basis of the heroics but also in an attempt to show a history of inclusiveness that never really existed.

    • The Coast Guard like the rest of society was and to a certain extent still is racist and sexist. It I right to recognize those that managed to stand out in spite of this. limitations

      But there are lots of other heroes who also deserve recognition.

  4. Pingback: Hero Names for the OPCs | Chuck Hill's CG Blog

  5. Chuck, In the mindset of political correctness, let me throw out a thought. What do think of a second cutter Taney? I will always have a fondness of the 327s from touring Ingram at Patriots Point when I was too young to understand what a “coast guard” was.

    I live close enough to Baltimore to find my way to aboard Taney every year or so. Given the uproar over Roger B Taney memorials due to his views on slavery, do you feel it appropriate to name a cutter Taney after WHEC 37?

    Looking strictly at the ship and not its namesake I think she warrants serious consideration. Taney is a 50 year veteran with World War II and Vietnam combat tours. Being at Pearl Harbor survivor by itself makes a strong case.

    In your mind, does the opinions of the namesake inidividual disqualify this ship from any form of consideration like this? Any other cutters fall into this category?

    • Taney and my old ship Duane illustrate a problem with repeating the old names. Even if the intent is to honor the previous ships, the history of the Treasury secretaries can bring with it a stain of racism.

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