R 241155 SEP 18
FM COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//CG-7//
SUBJ: EIGHT BELLS – A SEA SERVICE CELEBRATION ON 18 OCTOBER 2018
1. The Coast Guard Office of Cutter Forces (CG-751), the Heart of the Service, is
sponsoring a Sea Service Celebration centered around 18 October 2018 that honors
the sacrifices of the men and women serving aboard Coast Guard cutters, and
highlights the hard work of the thousands of shoreside administrative, training,
and engineering personnel who enable our fleet to operate. On 18 October 1974,
the Office of Personnel promulgated the Coast Guard Cutterman Insignia program,
to “recognize the contributions and qualifications of our personnel.” Today the
Cutterman pin represents the personal fulfillment of the professional training
and sea service associated with a seagoing Coast Guard career. Additionally, there
are many serving who do not wear Cutterman pins yet make considerable contributions
to the cutter community, and the Sea Service celebration calls special attention
to their contributions as well.
2. Since 1790, professional mariners have manned the decks of our cutters and braved
the high seas, Great Lakes, and our inland waterways. This year, we celebrate more
than 228 years of our sea-going traditions, currently upheld by the nearly 8,000
active duty personnel aboard our 248 cutters. The theme of this year’s Celebration
is “Why I Go to Sea.” As nearly 20% of our active duty force serves afloat, it is
important that we recognize and celebrate those aspects of the arduous yet
incredibly rewarding profession that our mariners embrace.
3. These are exciting times to be a Cutterman – there is a great need for Coasties
who desire to crew our rapidly modernizing fleet. In funding new cutter
acquisitions, the FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Bill made the Coast Guard a $12
Billion organization for the first time in our history. The keel for STONE, the
9th National Security Cutter (NSC), is being laid this month, and we will be
constructing hulls #10 & #11. 25 Offshore Patrol Cutters are planned and production
on the ARGUS, hull #1, is funded with an anticipated delivery in FY 2021. 28 Fast
Response Cutters (FRC) are in commission out of the 58 planned for the domestic
program of record, with an additional 6 scheduled for commissioning in FY 2019 alone;
we are also preparing to transition FRCs to PATFORSWA. The Waterways Commerce
Cutter received funding for expedited development of plans for a replacement of
the WLIC/WLI/WLR cutters. Finally, the Polar Security Cutter is moving forward in
the acquisition process and will award the contract in FY 2019. These substantial
national investments are clear evidence of the great value American leadership
places in the hard work of our professional mariners and support personnel
4. As part of this year’s Sea Service Celebration, COMDT (CG-751) encourages all
Cuttermen & operational commanders to participate in the following events:
a. One-page essay/poem/chanty contest: By 15 October 2018, our current, past
and aspiring future professional mariners are invited to submit a one-page essay,
poem, or chanty on the theme of “Why I Go to Sea.” Potential topics include, but
are not limited to, the missions, best sea stories, traditions, lore, history,
professional incentives, etc. Submissions will be judged on creativity and
ability to inspire Coasties to answer the call and stand the watch. Submissions
have no format requirement besides the page limit and must include the name of
the author, unless unit, department, or group name applies. Pictures are also
encouraged, and if included may take up an additional page. A suggested
essay/prose template is posted on the COMDT (CG-751) portal at:
Chain of command approved contest submissions should be sent via email to the
two POCs listed below. The top three winning entries will be posted on the COMDT
(CG-751) portal page and social media platforms, and shared with Surface Naval
Association Presidents, Rating Force Master Chiefs, and Operational Commanders
for distribution within the cutter community.
b. Cutter Public Affairs Officers (PAO) are encouraged to utilize their
Official Facebook pages to post CO/OIC-approved photos and media under the
hashtag #WhyIGoToSea throughout the year.
c. Local events: All commands are encouraged to host appropriate functions
that celebrate sea service traditions during the month of October, particularly
on 18 October. Suggestions include: local Cuttermen’s Calls, Dining-Ins, or cutter
round-ups with friendly competitions (DC Olympics, shiphandling challenge, etc.).
d. Cuttermen may join prose to a one to two minute video for possible posting
on District, Area, and HQ blogs and Facebook sites
(http://coastguard.dodlive.mil/official-sites/ or https://www.uscg.mil/home/).
Pictures and video can be submitted by using the Visual Information Management
System (VIMS) at: http://www.uscg.work/vims, choosing your local PA office, and the tag
#WhyIGoToSea. Also submit by 01 October 2018 at:
http://navysna.org/awards/video-competition.html for a concurrent SNA competition.
5. For more information, contact LT Paul Ledbetter at Paul.A.Ledbetter@uscg.mil and
LT Micah Howell at Micah.D.Howell@uscg.mil.
6. RDML Michael P. Ryan, Assistant Commandant for Capability, sends.
7. Internet release is authorized.