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USCG William Sparling Commissioning

The U.S. Coast Guard is commissioning the William Sparling, a new 154 ft. Sentinel-class, Fast Response Cutter (FRC) at Coast Guard Station Portsmouth in New Castle on Thursday, October 19, 2023.  The cutter will eventually be homeported in Boston but will primarily operate in Gulf of Maine local waters as well as other assignments.
The New Hampshire Council Navy League of the United States (NH Council NLUS) under the direction of President Kevin Galeaz is tasked with raising funds for the traditional social events surrounding the Commissioning which the US Coast Guard is not allowed to support with government funds. These events include a dinner reception at the Portsmouth Elks Club for the William Sparling crew & their family members, the Ship's Sponsor & her family members along with local dignitaries on October 18 and a lunch reception immediately following the Commissioning on October 19.

William Sparling’s widow Mrs. Caroline S. Sparling is the cutter’s sponsor, assuming the traditional role of the ship’s symbolic protector, advocate and permanent member of the crew expected to lend part of her personality to the ship.

“The Navy League is soliciting donations and local sponsors to ensure that the cutter’s plankowner crew, the namesake’s family, and other invited guests are able to enjoy this special event as our guests,” said Galeaz in announcing sponsorship levels for the events. “The Coast Guard has maintained a presence on the Seacoast since 1887 and we anticipate that USCG veterans and other members of the sea services will want to show their support by providing the gold standard hospitality to the Commissioning guests for which we’re famous.”

Sponsorship levels include:
$250: Silver Sponsor: Name or company name listed in the Commissioning Program as a Sponsor and receives two tickets to the Oct 18 dinner.
$500: Gold Sponsor: Name or company name and logo listed in the Commissioning Program as an Honorary Plankowner of the William Sparling and receives two tickets to the Oct 18 dinner.
$1000: Platinum Sponsor: Name or company name and logo listed in the Commissioning Program as an Honorary Plankowner of the William Sparling and receives eight tickets to the Oct 18 dinner.

Donations to the William Sparling Commissioning events are tax-deductible under the auspices of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit applicant NH Council NLUS and may be made by check to “NH Council NLUS”. Mail to Kevin Galeaz, President, NH Council NLUS, 1465 Hooksett Road Unit 239, Hooksett, NH 03016.

Questions regarding donations or sponsorships to the two traditional Commissioning receptions should contact NH Council NLUS William Sparling Commissioning Committee Chairman Captain Steven Wittrock, USCG Retired, at steve.wittrock.nlus@gmail.com.

William Sparling is designed to perform search and rescue missions, port security, and the interception of smugglers. Armed with a remotely-controlled, gyro-stabilized 25 mm autocannon, four M2 Browning machine guns, and light arms. The William Sparling is also equipped with a stern launching ramp, for launching or retrieving a water-jet propelled, high-speed auxiliary boat, while underway.

In 2010, USCG Master Chief Petty Officer Charles "Skip" W. Bowen, then the USCG's most senior non-commissioned officer, proposed that all 58 cutters in the Sentinel class should be named after enlisted sailors in the Coast Guard, or one of its precursor services, who were recognized for their heroism. The Coast Guard chose William Sparling as the namesake of the 54th cutter. William Sparling and three other Coast Guard sailors piloted the first landing craft in the first US amphibious landing in the Pacific Theater during World War II, successfully delivering U.S. Marines of Company D of the First Raider Battalion and returning three times with ammunition and supplies while under heavy fire during the invasion of Tulagi in the Solomon Island group. Sparling and his three crewmates each received a Silver Star for their “conspicuous gallantry” on this assignment. His crewmates Daniel Tarr, Harold Miller and Glen Harris also have Sentinel-class cutters named for them.

Funds collected that exceed the cost of the commissioning receptions will be used by the NH Council NLUS to meet our mission of supporting the Sea Services members and our youth programs, and to educate the public on the benefits of the Sea Services & advocate on their behalf.

Attendance at the commissioning and associated receptions is by invitation only.


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