Rescuing a day-sailor in peril, netting illegal fisherman, apprehending pirates, or thwarting terrorists – it’s all in a day’s work for the USS James (WMSL-754). To honor the brave and faithful service of the ship and its crew, rig yourself with this handsome challenge coin.
The WMSL-754 is a Legend-class, or national security, cutter (the designation WMSL means “maritime security, large”). These are the largest cutters in the Coast Guard, designed as multi-mission ships. In addition to rescuing civilians in danger, the Legend-class cutter is prepared to take on maritime security missions, coastal patrols, anti-terrorism, and fishery protection. The USS James can operate for 60 consecutive days at sea or forward for 230 days with rotational crews. It’s armed with advanced radar systems, electronic warfare systems, and close-in weapons systems. She can save lives… and take them, if threatened.
The USS James takes its name from an epic 19th century saver of lives, Joshua James. Working for the Massachusetts Humane Society and the U.S. Life-Saving Service (which became the U.S. Coast Guard in 1915), James saved more than 600 lives during his career. As a Life-Saving Service station keeper, he worked 28 years beyond the federal age limit of 45, passing all physical tests cleanly and easily. Even at an advanced age he successfully pulled off rescue endeavors that seemed impossible for a young man.
In his wake, Captain Joshua James left waves of courage and determination for new brave men and women of the Coast Guard to ride upon. He epitomizes what every Coastie strives to be today. And those aboard the USS James know they will do what they must to live up to the vessel’s namesake.
Minted in antique bronze and highlighted with bold enamel, this challenge coin pays tribute to the USS James (WMSL-754) and her courageous crew. In brilliant colors, the obverse features the ship’s crest and motto, “BRAVE & FAITHFUL SERVICE.” The reverse displays the Coast Guard emblem.