(This article originally appeared on al.com)
By Ashley Remkus
The U.S. Navy’s 18th Littoral Combat Ship, the USS Charleston, was christened today at Austal USA’s Mobile shipyard.
Among those in attendance at the christening ceremony were Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer and Charlotte Riley, sponsor of the future USS Charleston (LCS 18).
The ship, which is part of Austal’s $3.5 billion contract with the U.S. Navy, is named for Charleston, the oldest city in South Carolina.
“Today marks another major milestone with the christening of this remarkable warship,” said Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle in a news release. “Our talented shipbuilding team is honored to provide our Navy with an extraordinarily capable vessel that will honor the great city of Charleston as she operates around the world.”
Austal said the LCS program is at full-rate production, delivering two ships a year and is continuing its momentum at Austal USA with seven ships currently under construction:
- Omaha (LCS 12) will be delivered in the coming weeks
- Manchester (LCS 14) is preparing for trials
- Tulsa (LCS 16) will begin trials at the end of the year
- Final assembly is well underway on Cincinnati (LCS 20)
- Modules for Kansas City (LCS 22) and Oakland (LCS 24) are under construction
At today’s ceremony, Riley headlined the group of officials, naval guests, civic leaders, community members and Austal employees in Austal’s final assembly bay. Riley moved to Charleston in 1965 where she met her husband, Joseph P. Riley, Jr., who led the city of Charleston for 40 years beginning in 1975 when he was first elected Mayor, according to Austal.
Riley, an active community volunteer, began in the Junior League of Charleston and served as a tutor in remedial reading for a school for troubled boys, serving on their board for a number of years. She also served on the Big Brothers Big Sisters board, as well as the board for Charleston’s homeless shelter. As a volunteer for her church, Mrs. Riley supported Meals on Wheels and presently serves on their altar guild.
Christening video courtesy of Austal: