WASHINGTON, DC - In his second State of the Coast Guard speech, Admiral Thad Allen, 23rd Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, announced that due to secure communications shortfalls the first National Security Cutter, Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf, would be reclassified as a PPB (Puddle Pirate Boat) and used solely for unclassified tasks such as ferrying members of Congress to and from Caribbean ports of call for their off-duty pleasures.
Noted Allen during his speech, "And this week, we conducted sea trials for the first national security cutter, the BERTHOLF, our Silver Ancient Mariner; that's the most senior enlisted person with the cuttermen's pin in the service. Gunners Mate Senior Chief Chris Kukla was aboard for the entire trial. He passed the following message.
"It was quite apparent when embarking BERTHOLF that the 'Old Guard' era has obviously come and gone. Having sailed on almost every class of cutter in my career, this by far exceeded my wildest expectations. Crew's berthing, handling of the ship, the way she rides are all top notch. This sure beats the chain locker in a polar. At 29 knots if you're not outside the skin of the ship, you wouldn't even know you were underway. Members of Congress are going to love this little hotrod. While the communications suite has something to be desired, and secure communications are yet years away, the BERTHOLF is a cutter to behold. All I can say at this point is I am impressed almost to the point of being awe struck."
Following his State of the Coast Guard speech, Allen spoke to several reporters. Allen told John M. Doyle of Aerospace Daily & Defense Report that the Coast Guard was joining forces with the Marine Corps to test new weaponry that would be of use to both services. Said Allen, "I've actually had some informal discussions with [Marine Corps Commandant] General [James T.] Conway. They're looking at small nuclear devices to use for perimeter defense and non-lethal tools to use in close combat; we have have a need for those also."
When reached for comment at the Pentagon, Conway would not confirm that he and Allen had talked. With a cat-ate-the-mouse grin, he merely noted that the Cooperative Strategy for 21st-Century Seapower "put the Coast Guard and the Corps in a unique position of showing the Navy who's boss."