New London designated as a 'Coast Guard City'

New London — The city has become the first in the state and the 18th in the country to be recognized as a "Coast Guard City."

The long-awaited news came Tuesday with an "elite designation" from the commandant of the Coast Guard.

Cities must apply for the designation, which is bestowed at the discretion of the commandant, and must show their support of the Coast Guard over a sustained period of time.

New London — with input from the Coast Guard Academy, Connecticut College, local business leaders, sponsor families and public officials — completed the formal application last summer.

It was signed by Adm. Paul Zukunft, the commandant, and sent to several congressional committees for review. After a 90-day waiting period with no dissent, the designation became official.

"As a 1977 Coast Guard Academy graduate, I experienced firsthand the warmth and community spirit that New London has graciously provided our Coast Guard family for more than 100 years," Zukunft was quoted as saying in a news release. "As the home of several Coast Guard commands and the future site of the National Coast Guard Museum, I know the bond between the Coast Guard and the City of New London will continue to grow and flourish."

Although it's only a recognition, it's one that many in New London — home to the academy, Coast Guard Station New London, the Coast Guard Research and Development Center, the Marine Safety Lab and the International Ice Patrol — are proud to have.

The designation comes in the midst of Coast Guard Summer across Connecticut in recognition of the Coast Guard's 225th birthday, the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the academy and the planned National Coast Guard Museum in downtown New London.

The city is serving as the epicenter for the state celebration.

Zukunft will participate in a ceremony at 4 p.m. Aug. 14 on the Parade Plaza downtown for a celebration in honor of the designation.

j.bergman@theday.com

Twitter: @JuliaSBergman

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