(Original article appears courtesy of Commander, Naval Surface Force U.S. Pacific Fleet)
USS Wichita (LCS 13), the Navy’s seventh Freedom-variant littoral combat ship, was brought to life during a commissioning ceremony at Naval Station Mayport on Jan. 12.
“The LCS, like your favorite mobile device, offers more portability and maneuverability, while being much less conspicuous,” said Cmdr. Nathan Rowan, commanding officer of Wichita. “And, like a smartphone, the LCS packs quite a hefty punch for such a small package.”
Wichita has a crew of approximately 70 Sailors, and is designed to work close to shore and in the open ocean. This provides cost-effective force flexibility and allows the Navy to strengthen allied partnerships.
“It’s good to be part of a crew that’s small,” said Damage Controlman Fireman Brandon O’Connell, assigned to Wichita. “I can talk to everyone. We’re close to each other. Overall, I like it.”
Wichita is the third ship honoring Kansas’ largest city. It sails with the motto, “Keeper of the Seas.”
The first USS Wichita (CA 45), a heavy cruiser, was commissioned in 1939 and served in World War II. The second was the lead ship of Wichita-class replenishment oilers and designated Wichita (AOR 1) upon its commissioning in 1968.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to be assigned to Wichita,” said Chief Operation Specialist Isaac Davis. “I was born and raised in Kansas, so this is a real privilege. This is my first time being a plank owner (commissioning crew), or being on a new ship. It’s a moment I’ll definitely treasure. I hope I will do justice to the city of Wichita.”