The oldest Coast Guard cutter in the country, the 100-foot Smilax, was named Queen of the Fleet in a ceremony at its home port of Fort Macon Thursday.
The 67-year-old ship has been instrumental in countless coast guard missions. Hopes are she will continue to do that for years to come. The name on the cutter's hull was changed from white to golden letters to distinguish it as the Queen.
"67 years is a long time for a ship. Most navy ships only stay around for about 20 years and this ship has not only been around 67 but its been 67 hard working years," said U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Robert Papp Jr.
Only four other cutters have had this title. The Smilax was launched in1944.
The U.S. Coast Guard is holding a special ceremony on the North Carolina coast to celebrate the oldest cutter in its fleet.
Cutter Smilax will be honored as the "Queen of the Fleet" in a ceremony on Thursday at its home port of Fort Macon. To emphasize the designation, the lettering on the cutter's hull will be changed from white to gold.
The 100-foot Coast Guard construction tender was designed by the Coast Guard with detailed drawings by Dubuque Boat & Boiler Works in Dubuque, Iowa. The keel for Smilax was laid on Nov. 26, 1943; and it was launched on Aug. 18, 1944. It was commissioned that November.
At the time, Smilax was the most expensive ship in her class at a cost of $194,238.