Local Coast Guard ship hosts first baptism

Published 2:02 pm Thursday, October 23, 2014

Lucas Coy Hefty, held by his father Mike Hefty, is baptized aboard the USCGC Wedge by Chaplain Dan Berteau.

Lucas Coy Hefty, held by his father Mike Hefty, is baptized aboard the USCGC Wedge by Chaplain Dan Berteau.

For the first time in its 50 years as a commissioned ship, a baptism was performed aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Wedge.

Lucas Coy Hefty, the son of Chief Petty Officer Mike Hefty and Alisha Hefty, was baptized Thursday morning aboard the Wedge by Chaplain Dan Berteau.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Derek Spivey said having a baptism on a ship is a tradition that dates back to the British Royal Navy.

“If a child is born in a foreign country or aboard a ship, they can be baptized under the flag of that ship to give them citizenship of the country of that flag,” he said. “This is the first baptism I’ve been involved in during my time in the Coast Guard, but it certainly won’t be my last. It’s a great religious tradition, but also a great nautical tradition.”

Chaplain Dan Berteau performs the baptism ceremony on Lucas Coy Hefty, who is held by his parents, Mike and Alisha Hefty.

Chaplain Dan Berteau performs the baptism ceremony on Lucas Coy Hefty, who is held by his parents, Mike and Alisha Hefty.

To perform the baptism, the ship’s bell is turned upside down to hold water. S since Lucas was the first to be baptized on the Wedge, his name was engraved on the inside of the bell, and when the ship is decommissioned, the bell will be given to him.

The mission of the Wedge is to aid in navigation on the Tombigbee, Black Warrior, Tenn-Tom and Mobile Rivers as well as Locust Fork and Mulberry Fork. It was commissioned in 1964 and carries 16 men on board.

“We set buoys in the channel for mariners so they can navigate the waterways safely,” Spivey said.