January 29, 2016 - Long before the cutters and small boat stations that today patrol the Great Lakes arrived, a group of Life Saving Stations watched over those waters – day in and day out.
More than 130 years ago, a member of the U.S. Life Saving Service named Joseph Napier served as the keeper of the Saint Joseph Life Saving Station. Unbeknownst to him, his legacy would live on far beyond his years of service on the Great Lakes and would continue on more than a century later in waters much different.
Today, Joseph Napier was welcomed back to the Coast Guard fleet in a different way – as the Coast Guard’s newest fast response cutter.
In a ceremony in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the crew of Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier came together to celebrate the namesake of the cutter, and look forward to the future missions that Napier will soon accomplish.
“It is a tremendous honor and privilege to command one of the finest ships the Coast Guard has ever had,” said Lt. Ryan Newmeyer, commanding officer of the Cutter Joseph Napier. “The Joseph Napier will be a tremendous asset to Coast Guard efforts to combat transnational organized crime in the eastern Caribbean as well as a sentinel for all those who take to the sea. My crew and I are excited to join the active Coast Guard fleet and make our mark on the distinguished 225-plus year history of the Coast Guard.”
The cutter’s sponsor Jennifer Scalise, wife of Rep. Steve Scalise, was also in attendance to give the order to bring the ship to life as the crew marched aboard the cutter. In a letter written to the crew, Jennifer Scalise challenged every member to remember the namesake for who the cutter was named.
“It takes courage to put yourself in harms way, but it takes a special sort of servant leadership and devotion to duty to lead a crew into the same,” the letter said. “I challenge each of you to always remember his storied legacy and work each day to honor the service of shipmates who have served before you.”
Cutter Joseph Napier will join the fleet of Coast Guard fast response cutters stationed in San Juan and heighten the Coast Guard’s offshore presence throughout the Caribbean.
“The Coast Guard has a rich and deep-rooted history in life-saving missions, and sometimes you have to put others before yourself to complete the mission, which Joseph Napier proved many times during his tenure as a life saver,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Luis Torres-Rivera, a crewman aboard the cutter.
And as the cutter carries the Napier namesake forward into future generations, the crew strives to carry on the life-saving spirit of the Napier who served along the shores of the Great Lakes more than a century ago.
|Photo of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Joseph Napier. U.S. Coast Guard photo.|