WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The Coast Guard will again formally recognize Wilmington as a Coast Guard City at a ceremony next week. It marks the third time the City of Wilmington will be recognized by the service as an official Coast Guard City.
Rear Adm. Steven Ratti, the commander of the 5th Coast Guard District, is scheduled to present the letter from Adm. Robert Papp, the Coast Guard commandant, to Mayor Bill Saffo during a ceremony Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. at the Coast Guard Cutter Diligence dock along the Wilmington riverfront. The event is open to the public.
The Port City is one of 14 cities across the country formally designated and recognized as Coast Guard cities.
Wilmington officials, in cooperation with Coast Guard Sector North Carolina personnel, documented their efforts to support the Coast Guard in the city's application package. After a review process at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, the application was forwarded for congressional approval and designation as an official Coast Guard City.
The designation is not permanent, and communities must reapply every five years.
"It is impressive that the City of Wilmington has earned this designation on three consecutive occasions," said Cmdr. Jeff Randall, the commanding officer of the Coast Guard Cutter Diligence. "The City of Wilmington has always been an outstanding supporter of the Coast Guard ever since the first Revenue Cutter Diligence was based here in the late 1700s.”
Wilmington has included the Coast Guard as a centerpiece in its downtown events, including the annual Azalea Festival and Riverfest. The city has also been supportive of Coast Guard events, including annual Coast Guard Day celebrations, Diligence Dash 5K Run and the Diligence Charity Golf Tournament, the Coast Guard said in a news release.
Currently, local non-profit organizations, city officials and the crew of the Diligence are developing plans to celebrate the Diligence's 50th anniversary in downtown Wilmington next summer.