Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Santa Barbara (LCS 32) commissioned at Port Hueneme aboard Naval Base Ventura County, April 1.
“Littoral Combat Ships are versatile platforms. A successor in heritage to the escort fleets of the Second World War. They are fast, agile, and mission-tailored to operate in near-shore and open-ocean environments,” said principal speaker Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. “They are ideal for integrating into joint, combined, manned and unmanned teams to support maritime security operations and humanitarian missions around the globe. Our nation needs this great ship—and most of all, the Sailors and Marines who serve on board.”
Christened on Oct. 16, 2021, USS Santa Barbara departed Austal USA’s Mobile, Al., shipyard in late 2022. After operating up and down the east coast, the ship crossed the Panama Canal before arriving at its homeport Jan. 18.
“The Sailors running aboard and bringing USS Santa Barbara to life during this commissioning ceremony highlights the most important part of a ship – her crew,” said Cmdr. Brian Sparks, Commanding Officer of Santa Barbara. “Our Santa Barbara Sailors are resilient and determined, ready to go over-the-horizon and execute operational tasking. This ceremony is the culmination of all of the hard work completed by our Sailors have done to turn this Pre-Commissioning Unit into a United States Ship.”
“USS Santa Barbara, welcome to the Pacific – the locus of America’s future and well-being,” said Paparo.
In the week leading up to the commissioning ceremony, the Santa Barbara’s crew spent time with their ship’s sponsor, Santa Barbara-native Lolita Zinke, and participated in community relations events in their namesake city to build a strong connection with their namesake community.
During the ceremony, Mayor Randy Rowse, City of Santa Barbara, presented the ships commanding officer with the proclamation naming April 1, 2023 as USS Santa Barbara Day. “May this proclamation serve as a reminder to you and the ship’s company that, from this day forward, every crew member of the USS Santa Barbara will be recognized and welcomed as honorary members of the Santa Barbara community.”
Other ships in the Independence-variant, USS Charleston (LCS 18), USS Oakland (LCS 24), and USS Mobile (LCS 26) are currently conducting forward presence missions in the Indo-Pacific.
Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ships are fast, optimally manned, mission-tailored surface combatants that operate in near-shore and open-ocean environments, winning against 21st-century coastal threats. LCS integrate with joint, combined, manned and unmanned teams to support forward presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence missions around the globe.