(Original article appears courtesy of the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror)
The USS Nantucket, the first U.S. Navy ship to be named after the island in more than 100 years, was christened Saturday in Marinette, Wis.
The christening ceremony marked the transition of the ship from new construction to its tests and trials phase and was celebrated with the traditional breaking of a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.
Town manager Libby Gibson and harbormaster Sheila Lucey were among the guests at the christening. Summer resident Polly Spencer, ship sponsor and wife of Richard V. Spencer, the 76th Secretary of the U.S. Navy from 2017 to 2019, christened the ship.
The last USS Nantucket was commissioned in 1862 to serve during the American Civil War.
The ship is a 388-foot Freedom-class littoral combat ship, a relatively small vessel intended for operations close to shore. According to the Navy, it is designed to “defeat threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.”
The USS Nantucket, the third commissioned U.S. Navy ship to bear the island’s name, was built by Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette.
It will be homeported in Florida.
The name was chosen to “honor the maritime history and heritage of the people of Nantucket,” Navy spokesman Lt. Joshua Kelsey said. The last Nantucket was commissioned in 1862 by the Union Navy during the Civil War.