USS Delbert D. Black (DDG 119) Commissioned

PORT CANAVERAL (Sept. 26, 2020) – Mrs. Ima Black, widow of Delbert D. Black, looks on to the ship and crew during the commissioning ceremony of the Navy’s newest guided-missile destroyer, USS Delbert D. Black (DDG 119). DDG 119 honors the first Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, Delbert D. Black. This is the first ship in naval history to be named Delbert D. Black, and will be homeported in Naval Station Mayport. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sarah Villegas)

Original article appears courtesy of Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic.

The U.S. Navy commissioned Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Delbert D. Black (DDG 119) today.

Due to public health and safety concerns related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the commissioning was a private event.

Secretary of the Navy, The Honorable Kenneth J. Braithwaite was represented by Assistant Secretary of the Navy James Guerts with Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith placing the ship into commission.Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Michael Gilday was represented by Adm. William K. Lescher, Vice Chief of Naval Operations. The event was livestreamed to allow public viewing of the ceremony for the ship named for the first Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON).

MCPON Russell Smith, currently serving as the 15th senior enlisted leader of the Navy, was the Principle Speaker. MCPON Smith fills the role begun by Black as advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations and to the Chief of Naval Personnel in matters dealing with enlisted personnel and their families.

“This is the first ship to honor a senior enlisted leader in such a way for their contributions in this realm, and represents a significant milestone achievement that recognizes both the responsibility of the position to the Navy, as well the tremendous accountability to those enlisted Sailors we primarily provide advocacy for,” said MCPON Smith. “The vision and effort it took to move the idea of a Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy into an effective reality cannot be overstated, and all of us have been the benefactors of his legend of service by advancing the work that he began.

Rear Adm. Brad Cooper, Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic, welcomed the ship that brings a wide range of warfighting capabilities in multi-threat air, surface and subsurface environments to the premier Surface Force in the world.

“The USS Delbert D. Black joins the Fleet during a time when its cutting-edge capabilities are most needed,” said Cooper. “I’m extremely proud of this crew and know the pennant of courage, teamwork, inclusiveness and sacrifice will be taken up and flown even higher with the Sailors who serve aboard the ship.”

Mrs. Ima Black, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Delbert D. Black’s widow and a former Sailor, served as the ship’s sponsor offering congratulations to everyone who played a role in delivering USS Delbert D. Black to service. Mrs. Black served during World War II in the Navy WAVES – Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service.

Delbert D. Black’s Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Matthew McKenna, reported the ship ready to Adm. Lescher.

The crew is excited to kick off Tulsa Navy Week as part of their commissioning. “Being that Delbert Black was a native of Oklahoma, I’m ecstatic that Tulsa Navy Week will highlight the first Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, namesake of our ship, virtually Oct. 5 through 11,” said McKenna. “This is much more than a ceremony; the commissioning of a ship is a culmination of unwavering dedication. The ship is ready to be introduced to the Fleet.”

Delbert D. Black is the 68th Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer to be delivered to the Navy and the first to bear its name. DDG 119 honors the first Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON). Black is known for initiating the master chief program, ensuring enlisted leadership was properly represented Navy-wide.

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USS Montana Christened

Former Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, right, christens the Virginia-class submarine USS Montana, also known as SSN 794, as the ship’s commanding officer Capt. Michael Delaney, left, and Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin, look on during its christening ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020, in Newport News, Va. (Matt Hildreth/Huntington Ingalls Industries via AP)

Original article appears courtesy of the Navy Times.

She’s touted as a force to be reckoned with. And after nearly a 100-year absence, a U.S. Navy vessel now bears the name “Montana.”

And when she takes to the water, you better beware of the “Vigilantes of the Deep.”

The U.S. Navy recently christened its newest nuclear-powered fast-attack submarine, the USS Montana, at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia in a ceremony that featured some flavor of the Big Sky state.

“I christen thee United States Ship Montana!” former Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, the ship’s sponsor, said Sept. 12 as she smacked a bottle of sparkling wine against the bow. “God Bless this submarine and all who sail in her!”

The christening of the USS Montana, also known as SSN 794, was a virtual celebration due to COVID-19 restrictions, meaning the Montanans who have been watching the progress on this submarine since its inception in 2015 had to watch online. It was the first christening of a U.S. Navy ship since the coronavirus outbreak began, officials said. The event was held at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries, in Newport News, Virginia. Huntington Ingalls is America’s largest military shipbuilding company.

The celebration started with an honor song offered by the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes, which represented the 12 tribes of Montana. CSKT Councilman Martin Charlo noted that Native Americans serve in the Armed Forces at a higher percentage per capita than other ethnic groups in the United States.

“It’s an honor to know our warrior spirit will be carried by this highly advanced and fast machine that will carry out many missions and keep our land safe,” he said. “We salute and send the Creator’s blessings over all men and women who help build, equip, crew, train and eventually set sail in defense of our nation.”

Members of the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes perform an honor song for the christening of the USS Montana.

“May the Creator watch over all the new crew members and keep them from harm,” Charlo said. “They will be in our prayers.”

But don’t pull your water wings down off the shelf just yet as officials said it could be a year or so until the $2.6 billion submarine — the first vessel to be named after the state since 1908 — takes to the high seas. Montana is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in late 2021.

The christening is a shipbuilder event that the vessel is ready to launch and is far different than the submarine being finished and ready to join the fleet, said Bill Whitsitt, director of the state’s USS Montana Committee based in the Treasure State.

He said through the committee — a nonprofit created by a group of Montana residents wanting to support the submarine and endorsed by the governor and Legislature in 2017 — the state has made the commitment to support the ship for its 30-year service life.

“It was a very moving experience, he said of the ceremony, adding it was a “major milestone” in the ship joining the U.S. Navy fleet.

Jennifer Boykin, president of Newport News Shipbuilding and executive vice president of Huntington Ingalls Industries, offered an explanation at the christening, the first such event since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“It is an important ceremony in the life of a ship, signaling it is water tight, ready to launch and prepared to start the next and final stage of its construction before going to sea,” she said.

The relationship between a ship sponsor and crew is special. Jewell will also impart her spirit on the ship and her crew and will possess a spirit unique to her sponsor, Boykin said.

Jewell said she looked forward to ringing the special bell the USS Montana Committee had made for the submarine. She was selected by then-President Barack Obama to be the ship’s sponsor, a title given to a prominent citizen chosen to christen a naval vessel. Jewell has spent time the past few years with the captain and crew and been in submarines.

Jewell spent a night as a guest of the Navy on another submarine, the USS New Mexico, doing exercises under pack ice of the Arctic Ocean in 2014.

“In the spirit of its namesake state, the USS Montana will explore some of the wildest places on Earth in service to us all,” she said. “May the magnificent fighting capabilities of this incredible submarine be an appropriate deterrent to aggressors who seek to undermine freedom and democracy for the United States and its allies across the globe.

“May the crew be well trained … and may all of our blessings carry the USS Montana and her crew to safety throughout her years of service to the American people,” Jewell said.

Mariah Gladstone, an engineer working on her master’s degree and member of the Blackfeet Nation, is serving as the submarine’s maid of honor and offered a blessing.

The maid of honor can serve as a proxy at events for the sponsor.

Even the invocation was distinctly Montana, as it was given by Jason Sutton, a Montana native who now serves as director of manufacturing for Newport News Shipbuilding.

“We raised our kids to believe that although the military moved us all over the world, that Montana truly was home and the last best place,” he said.

“… We pray as this silent sentry prepares to run deep in harsh, oceanic environments and in close proximity to a formidable foe that their purpose remain pure as they stand guard, and when called upon to wield the sword, may it strike with swift accuracy and render further violence useless to realize a peace beyond understanding,” Sutton said in his prayer.

Capt. Michael Delaney, the submarine’s commander, called the USS Montana one of the most capable warships ever built.

“To the crew, together we have the privilege and responsibility to establish Montana’s legacy,” he said at the christening ceremony. “I am honored to lead you in this endeavor and grateful to serve with each and every one of you.”

He said over the past two years he has visited several parts of the state.

“From its natural beauty and rugged outdoors, to mutton-busting and rodeos, the thing that stood out the most was the people that we met throughout the state and the reception with which they received the crew.”

Three of its 133 sailors, who came from 33 states, reportedly call Montana home.

Virginia Class submarines are 377 feet long and have a 34-foot beam. They displace 7,800 tons when submerged and travel about 28 mph. They have 12 Tomahawk missile tubs and four torpedo tubes, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. The keel for the boat was laid on May 16, 2018 and construction of the submarine involved 4,000 shipbuilders, officials said.

The first USS Montana, ACR-13, was an armored cruiser also built at Newport News Shipbuilding and commissioned in July 1908. She served in the Atlantic and Mediterranean, landed Marines during unrest in Haiti in 1914 and escorted convoys during World War I. She was decommissioned in 1921, Navy officials said in a news release.

Construction of the current USS Montana began 2015. It is the third of the 10 Block IV Virginia Class submarines.

Virginia Class submarines navigate deep waters while doing anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface ship warfare; strike warfare; special operation forces support; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions, Navy officials said.

They are replacing Los Angeles Class submarines. The Navy said in a news release the submarines are known for their stealth, endurance, mobility and firepower.

Whitsitt explained the significance of the ship’s bell, saying it was from the first USS Montana, commissioned in 1908, now on display at the University of Montana.

He said the new bell for the new USS Montana is filled with historical significance. It is a historic replica of the first bell, but has the emblem of SSN 794. The new bell has the state motto “Oro y plata” and has gold and silver dolphin pins worn by qualified submariners and has real Montana gold and silver in it as well.

“… On behalf of all Montanans, we ask in the words of the Navy hymn “Bless those who serve beneath the deep …,” Whitsitt said.

The committee informs the people of Montana about the USS Montana and its role in protecting our nation, supports the commissioning of the USS Montana, provides appropriate financial support for the USS Montana not provided by the U.S. Navy because of budget or other constraints.

The keynote speaker, Acting Undersecretary of the Navy Gregory J. Slavonic, said the USS Montana will enhance the United States’ fleet with next generation stealth, surveillance and special warfare capabilities.

“It sends a signal to friends and foe alike that we will maintain supremacy under the waves and extend the lethality and readiness in every domain,” he said. “This powerful platform is proof of an ironclad relationship between the Navy and industrial partners who form the backbone of our maritime strength.”

Montana’s congressional delegation wished the ship well.

Republican Sen. Steve Daines said the day was “long overdue” as Montana’s name had not been on a battleship for nearly 100 years.

“God bless the men and women who will serve aboard the USS Montana and may God continue to bless this great United States of America,” he said.

Democratic Sen. Jon Tester said the Montana is a force to be reckoned with.

“In a time of new global threats and challenges, it will represent Montana and our nation in the waters by defending us around the world for decades and decades,” he said. “I want to thank the active duty sailors and Marines who serve on vessels like the one we are celebrating today for keeping us safe. I know you will do Montana proud. It is an incredible honor to be part of this journey.”

GOP Rep. Greg Gianforte said we live in a challenging and unprecedented time.

“Know that this submarine will always embark with the support of all Montana and any sailor who boards her will be an honorary Montanan. May God keep this submarine and her crew safe.”

Among those who viewed the christening was state Attorney General Tim Fox, who is a member of the USS Montana Committee.

He said the committee raised money for some of the finer points of the submarine, such as a Montana-themed insignia and items to the captain’s quarters “so that Montana can be part of the ship.”

The insignia, the official emblem of the USS Montana, includes a Glacier National Park scene, a gold star within the submarine’s hull number, SSN 794 and the state motto of Oro y Plata (gold and silver).

It includes two eagle feathers representing the values, culture, and courage of Native American warriors and their tribes, a grizzly bear and 3-7-77, a symbol is associated with Montana’s early citizen vigilantes.

Finally, the Latin inscription within the emblem’s Montana border is “May it defend our way of life.”

The Montana crew has chosen to be called the “Vigilantes of the Deep,” Whitsitt said, noting it is a homage to Montana’s past.

Fox, who is termed out of office at the end of the year, said he hopes he can view the launch when that occurs in the next year or so.

Whitsitt said he watched the ceremony with a great deal of pride.

“I’m proud of our U.S. Navy, I’m proud of the shipbuilders in Virginia and the incredible work they did and proud of all the work everyone put into it,” he said.

“We are very proud of the sailors,” he said, noting the captain has made four visits to the state, sometimes with a commanding officer and crew members and then went to different parts of Montana, often staying with families.

“This boat is going to have 130-plus young sailors and carrying the name Montana and they need to know they are supported by those in their namesake state,” he said. “They appreciate the people back home know about, pray about them and want to be protected.

“Montanans, as you know, are patriots and want to support our military people and when go into harm’s way with our blessing and with the best equipment in the world,” Whitsitt said.

“We hope the mission is peace, but we want these young sailors to be protected.”

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Keel Laying for Future USNS Harvey Milk

General Dynamics/NASSCO

Original article appears courtesy of General Dynamics/Nassco.

On Thursday, September 3, General Dynamics NASSCO laid the keel for the future USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206), the second of six vessels in the John Lewis-class fleet replenishment oiler program for the U.S. Navy. 

Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, and Ms. Paula Neira, former naval officer and USNA class of 1985, the ship’s sponsors, virtually laid the keel by having their initials welded onto a steel plate by NASSCO welders. The steel plate will be permanently affixed to the ship’s keel and will remain with the vessel throughout its time in service. 

Former Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, declared the John Lewis-class of oilers be named after leaders who fought for civil and human rights. The second of six ships honors Harvey Milk, human and civil rights activist who dedicated his life advocating for equality. 

“I worked with Harvey, I know his dedication to human, civil and gay rights, and he was an exceptional figure,” said Senator Feinstein. “I think it really is fitting and proper that this great ship be named after him.” 

“It is a privilege to build a ship named after a true champion of equality and a commitment to those in need,” said Dave Carver, President of General Dynamics NASSCO. “General Dynamics NASSCO is honored to build this ship that will bear the name USNS Harvey Milk.” 

At 746-feet in length and displacing 49,000 tons, the future USNS Harvey Milk will provide valuable logistics support to our carrier strike groups around the world. Fleet oilers serve as a supply lifeline for Navy vessels carrying out missions in the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and beyond. Crafted for underway replenishment, the oilers transfer fuel, food, spare parts and items needed to sustain military operations at sea as part of the Navy’s combat logistics force. 

“The fact that we’re able to come together for this virtual ceremony is a reflection of the resilience and the dedication to mission that is characteristic of the United States Navy and our partners, the great shipbuilders at NASSCO,” said Paula Neira. 

Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, NASSCO will release a virtual keel laying video via their company website and Facebook page on Thursday September 10. The short video will include remarks from the ship sponsors and the Navy.

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USS Savannah (LCS 28) Christened

Ships’ sponsor Mrs Dianne Isakson (centre) was ships sponsor for the christening ceremony of the future USS Savannah (LCS 28), held at Austal USA’s Mobile Alabama over the weekend. (Image: Austal USA)

Original article appears courtesy of Austal USA.

The future USS Savannah (LCS 28) has been christened at  Austal USA’s  state-of-the-art ship manufacturing facility in Mobile, Alabama. The future USS Savannah is the 14th of 19 Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) Austal USA has under contract with the United States Navy.

The ship was officially christened by Mrs Dianne Isakson, the daughter of a World War II naval aviator and a sister to two brothers who both served in the United States Navy. A graduate of the University of Georgia, Mrs Isakson is married to the Honourable Johnny Isakson, a United States Senator from Georgia. The City of Savannah, after which the vessel is named, is the oldest city in the State of Georgia.

Celebrating the milestone, Austal Limited Chief Executive David Singleton said the continued success of the Independence-class LCS shipbuilding program demonstrated the extensive capabilities of the high-calibre Austal USA team.  

“The christening of a ship is an important milestone and an appropriate time to reflect on all of the hard work that goes into the construction of each and every vessel. Congratulations to everyone at Austal USA and thank you for your tremendous productivity and efficiency in the delivery of the LCS program,” Mr Singleton said.

The Independence-class LCS is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments, yet it is also capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats, such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The 127-metre high-speed trimaran hull warship integrates new technology and capability to support current and future mission capability from deep water to the littorals.

Five LCSs are presently under various stages of construction at Austal USA’s Mobile, Alabama shipyard; the future USS Mobile (LCS 26) is preparing for sea trials; assembly is underway on the future USS Savannah (LCS 28) and USS Canberra (LCS 30); while modules for the future USS Santa Barbara (LCS 32) and USS Augusta (LCS 34) are under construction in the module manufacturing facility (MMF). The future USS Kingsville (LCS 36) and USS Pierre (LCS 38) are under contract.

In addition to being in full-rate production for the LCS program, Austal USA is also the United States Navy’s prime contractor for the Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) program. Austal has delivered 12 EPFs, with a total of 14 under contract. Austal USA is also leading the evolution of connector and auxiliary ships, as Austal EPF designs for dedicated medical, maintenance, logistics, and command and control ships continue to impress fleet commanders.

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USS St. Louis (LCS 19) Commissioned

NAVAL STATION MAYPORT (Aug 8, 2020) The crew of the Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS St. Louis (LCS 19) renders honors during the ship’s commissioning ceremony at Naval Station Mayport. LCS 19, the seventh ship in naval history to be named St. Louis, will be homeported at Naval Station Mayport. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alana Langdon/Released)

Original article appears courtesy of the Department of Defense.

The U.S. Navy commissioned Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS St. Louis (LCS 19), Aug. 8.

Due to public health safety concerns and restrictions of large public gatherings related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Navy commissioned St. Louis at a private event.

“Nearly 200 years after the first ship to bear the name was launched, today we commission the seventh USS St. Louis,” said Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite. “Much like that sloop of war did in 1828, LCS-19 and her crew will protect the U.S. and our interests near and abroad. Whether conducting counter-narcotic operations in the Caribbean or working to enhance interoperability with partners and allies at sea, USS St. Louis will provide maneuverability, stability and lethality in today’s era of Great Power Competition.”

Rear Adm. Brad Cooper II, commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic, welcomed the ship that brings capabilities to counter diesel submarine, mines, and fast surface craft threats to the world’s premier surface force.
St. Louis brings speed and agility to the fleet,” said Cooper. “Congratulations to St. Louis’ captain and crew for all of your hard work to reach this milestone. You join a proud Surface Force that controls the seas and provides the nation with naval combat power when and where needed.”

Barbara Broadhurst Taylor, the ship’s sponsor, offered congratulations to everyone who played a role in delivering USS St. Louis to service.

“To witness the skill and commitment of the officers and crew of USS St. Louis as they brought our magnificent ship to life has been one of the greatest honors of my life. All of us in the great city of St. Louis are proud to be part of our ship’s historic legacy, and extend our appreciation and lasting friendship to the crew and their families,” Taylor said. “Your patriotism and dedication to preserving peace and freedom inspires us. May God bless our ship and all who sail her.”

Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations, and Environment Charles Williams expressed gratitude to the ships sponsor for their commitment to the Navy. “I want to express the Navy’s deep appreciation to the Taylor family. Much of what they do is anonymous but believe me when I say they are the preeminent philanthropic family of the St. Louis community and a donor to Navy causes,” said Williams

St. Louis’ commanding officer, Cmdr. Kevin Hagan, reported the ship ready.

“I’m incredibly proud of the work the crew of St. Louis put in to get this ship ready to sail. I am absolutely honored to lead this crew through all of the trials required of a brand new ship in the fleet,” said Hagan. “Their perseverance and dedication will set the foundation for our crew and for all future crews that will call USS St. Louis their home.”

St. Louis is the 22nd LCS to be delivered to the Navy, and the tenth of the Freedom-variant to join the fleet and is the seventh ship to bear the name. The first St. Louis, a sloop of war, was launched in 1828. It spent the majority of its service patrolling the coasts of the Americas to secure interests and trade. In addition, it served as the flagship for the West Indies Squadron working to suppress piracy in the Caribbean Sea, the Antilles and the Gulf of Mexico region.

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Beloit Keel Laying

Major General Marcia M. Anderson (U.S. Army, Ret.)

This article originally appears courtesy of the City of Beloit, WI.

Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine marked the beginning of construction on Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 29, the future USS Beloit, with a ceremony in Marinette. As part of a ship-building tradition dating back centuries, a shipyard worker welded into the ship’s keel plate the initials of Major General Marcia M. Anderson (U.S. Army, Retired), USS Beloit ship sponsor and a Beloit, Wisconsin, native. This plate will be affixed to the ship and travel with Beloit throughout its commissioned life.

LCS 29 will be the 15th Freedom-variant LCS and will join a class of more than 30 ships. To date, four Freedom-variant LCS have deployed to support U.S. Navy presence and peacekeeping missions. In May, LCS 7 (USS Detroit) partnered with a U.S. Navy destroyer and Coast Guard teams to serve interdiction missions in the U.S. Southern Command Area of Responsibility.

“With two deployments so far this year, Freedom-variant LCS have proven that they are capable and can serve a unique role in the U.S. Navy’s fleet,” said Joe DePietro, vice president and general manager of Small Combatants and Ship Systems. “LCS’ speed, maneuverability and flexibility allows the ship to serve a multitude of missions by quickly integrating equipment and deploying manned and unmanned aerial, surface or sub-surface vehicles.”

In total, there are more than 500,000 nautical miles under the keel of Freedom-variant LCS. The ship delivers advanced capability in anti-submarine, surface, and mine countermeasure missions, and was designed to evolve with the changing security environment. As near-peer competition from large nation states increases, Lockheed Martin is partnering with the Navy to evolve LCS to meet these threats. Targeted upgrades are already underway with naval strike missiles being installed in support of upcoming deployments. Future installs of improved electronic warfare and decoy launching systems are under development.

LCS 29 is the first Navy ship to be named after Beloit, Wisconsin, and the ship’s sponsor has personal ties to Beloit. During a long career with the U.S. military, Major General Anderson became the first African American woman to obtain the rank of major general in the U. S. Army and U. S. Army Reserve. As a citizen-soldier, Anderson was employed for 28 years by the United States Courts, where she served as the Clerk of the Bankruptcy Court, Western District of Wisconsin, located in Madison, Wisconsin, until her retirement in late 2019.

“The construction of the Navy’s newest Littoral Combat Ship and naming it after the city of Beloit, with its rich and storied history of supporting our nation’s national security, is more than fitting,” said Major General Anderson. “When completed, the USS Beloit’s voyages will be part of the tradition of small cities and towns in America sharing our story around the world.”

Beloit is one of six LCS in various stages of construction and test at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard.

“We are proud to celebrate the future USS Beloit today,” said Jan Allman, CEO of Fincantieri Marinette Marine. “The Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard is honored to build this capable warship, named for another city from the wonderful state of Wisconsin. I think this is a true testament to the hard work and patriotism of Midwesterners, and we look forward to working with the City of Beloit as we continue building LCS 29 for our US Navy partner.”

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USS Tripoli Commissioned

This article appears courtesy of the Department of Defense.

The U.S. Navy commissioned USS Tripoli (LHA 7) on July 15, 2020.

Although the Navy canceled the traditional public commissioning ceremony due to public health and safety restrictions on large public gatherings, the Navy commissioned the USS Tripoli administratively and the ship transitioned to normal operations. Meanwhile, the Navy is looking at a future opportunity to commemorate the special event with the USS Tripoli’s sponsor, crew and commissioning committee.

“USS Tripoli is proof of what the teamwork of all of our people – civilian, contractor and military – can accomplish together,” said Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite. “This ship will extend the maneuverability and lethality of our fleet to confront the many challenges of a complex world, from maintaining the sea lanes to countering instability to maintaining our edge in this era of renewed great power competition.”

Rear Adm. Philip E. Sobeck, commander, Expeditionary Strike Group THREE, welcomes the Navy’s newest amphibious assault ship, and crew, to the amphibious force.

Tripoli is an example of the continued investment in our Navy, to increase and maintain our edge on the battlefield,” said Sobeck. “Congratulations to Tripoli’s crew for all of your hard work, amidst these challenging times, to reach this milestone. We welcome you to the amphibious force, of combat ready ships and battle-minded crews to go to sea and support sustained combat operations.”

LHA 7 incorporates key components to provide the fleet with a more aviation-centric platform. Tripoli’s design features an enlarged hangar deck, realignment and expansion of the aviation maintenance facilities, a significant increase in available stowage for parts and support equipment, and increased aviation fuel capacity. The ship is the first LHA replacement ship to depart the shipyard ready to integrate the entire future air combat element of the Marine Corps, to include the Joint Strike Fighter.

Along with its pioneering aviation element, LHA 7 incorporates gas turbine propulsion plant, zonal electrical distribution, and fuel-efficient electric auxiliary propulsion systems first installed on USS Makin Island (LHD 8). LHA 7 is 844 feet in length, has a displacement of approximately 44,000 long tons, and will be capable of operating at speeds of over 20 knots.

Tripoli’s commanding officer, Capt. Kevin Myers, highlighted Tripoli’s accomplishments over the past several months getting through initial sea trials. The hard work and dedication of the entire team during the past few years was evident in the successful execution of at-sea testing.

“Being the third ship to bear the Tripoli namesake is a profound honor and this crew stands ready to carry on the legacy of our longstanding Navy and Marine Corps amphibious community,” said Meyers. “These sailors and Marines will pave the way for those still to come. What’s remarkable is seeing the dedication, perseverance and resilience these new plank owners have shown since day one, and more recently, through uncertain times as the Navy and nation work through a pandemic. There is no doubt in my mind that this team is ready to answer the nation’s call at any time or place.”

LHA 7 is the third Navy ship to be named Tripoli. The name honors and commemorates the force of U.S. Marines and approximately 370 soldiers from 11 other nationalities who captured the city of Derna, Libya, during the 1805 Battle of Derna. The battle resulted in a subsequent peace treaty and the successful conclusion of the combined operations of the First Barbary War, and was later memorialized in the Marines’ Hymn with the line, “to the shores of Tripoli.”

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USS Kansas City Commissioned

SAN DIEGO (June 20, 2020) – Cmdr. R.J. Zamberlan, the commanding officer of the Navy’s newest littoral combat ship, USS Kansas City (LCS 22), reads his orders during the ship’s commissioning ceremony. The Navy commissioned LCS 22, the second ship in naval history to be named Kansas City, via naval message due to public health safety and restrictions of large public events related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Kansas City is homeported at Naval Base San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex Corona)

Original article appears courtesy of the Department of Defense.

The U.S. Navy commissioned Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Kansas City (LCS 22) today, June 20.

The Navy commissioned Kansas City administratively via naval message due to public health safety and restrictions of large public gatherings related to the coronavirus pandemic and transitioned the ship to normal operations. The Navy is looking at a future opportunity to commemorate the special event with the ship’s sponsor, crew, and commissioning committee.

“This Independence-variant littoral combat ship will continue our proud naval legacy and embody the spirit of the people of Kansas City,” said Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite. “I am confident the crew of the USS Kansas City will extend the reach and capability of our force and confront the challenges of today’s complex world with our core values of honor, courage and commitment.”

Vice Adm. Richard A. Brown, commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, welcomed the ship that brings capabilities to counter diesel submarine, mines, and fast surface craft threats to the premier surface force in the world.

“Like other littoral combat ships, Kansas City brings speed and agility to the fleet,” said Brown via naval message. “Congratulations to Kansas City’s captain and crew for all of your hard work to reach this milestone. You join a proud Surface Force that controls the seas and provides the nation with combat naval power when and where needed.”

Mrs. Tracy Davidson, the ship’s sponsor, offered congratulations to everyone who played a role in delivering USS Kansas City to service.

“I am so proud of USS Kansas City and her crew, and everyone involved, for all the tremendous work they’ve done to bring this ship to life. Their dedication to our nation and the Navy is very much appreciated,” said Davidson. “I am privileged to be a part of this ship honoring Kansas City and look forward to remaining connected to USS Kansas City as her legacy grows, wherever she may sail.”

Kansas City’s commanding officer, Cmdr. R.J. Zamberlan, reported the ship ready.

“The caliber of crew required to prepare a warship entering the fleet is second to none,” said Zamberlan. “This is even more impressive aboard an LCS, where every member of the minimally manned team is required to fulfill multiple roles and excel at all of them to get the job done. This crew has exceeded expectations in unprecedented times and I could not be prouder to be their captain.”

Kansas City is the 11th of the Independence variant to join the fleet and the second ship to be named for Kansas City. The name Kansas City was assigned to a heavy cruiser during World War II. However, construction was canceled after one month due to the end of the war. The name Kansas City was also assigned to the Wichita-class replenishment oiler AOR-3 in 1967. This ship saw service in the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm and was decommissioned in 1994.

The littoral combat ship is a fast, agile and networked surface combatant, and the primary mission for the LCS includes countering diesel submarine threats, littoral mine threats and surface threats to assure maritime access for joint forces. The underlying strength of the LCS lies in its innovative design approach, applying modularity for operational flexibility. Fundamental to this approach is the capability to rapidly install interchangeable mission packages (MPs) onto the seaframe to fulfill a specific mission and then be uninstalled, maintained and upgraded at the Mission Package Support Facility (MPSF) for future use aboard any LCS seaframe.

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USS Vermont Commissioned

The assistant navigator informs the commanding officer, executive officer and chief of the boat that the commissioning pennant has been fully raised aboard USS Vermont (SSN 792), bringing the ship to life during a small commissioning ceremony held by the crew. Vermont is the 19th Virginia-class fast-attack submarine. In photo, from left on the top of the sail to right, Senior Chief Electronics Technician (SS) Shawn Mason, assistant navigator; Electronics Technician Seaman Joshua Ragan; Lt. Austin Thompson, weapons officer; Lt. Cmdr. Martín Roschmann, executive officer; Cmdr. Charles W. Phillips III, commanding officer. (U.S. Navy photo by Mark Jones/Released)

Original article appears courtesy of U.S. Department of Defense

The U.S. Navy commissioned USS Vermont (SSN 792), the 19th Virginia-class attack submarine, today, April 18, 2020. 

Although the traditional public commissioning ceremony was cancelled due to public health safety and restrictions of large public gatherings, the Navy commissioned USS Vermont administratively and transitioned the ship to normal operations. Meanwhile, the Navy is looking at a future opportunity to commemorate the special event with the ship’s sponsor, crew and commissioning committee.

“This Virginia-class fast-attack submarine will continue the proud naval legacy of the state of Vermont and the ships that have borne her name,” said Acting Secretary of the Navy James E. McPherson. “I am confident the crew of this cutting edge platform will carry on this tradition and confront the challenges of today’s complex world with the professionalism and dedication our nation depends on from warriors of the silent service.”

Vice Adm. Daryl Caudle, commander, Submarine Forces, said Vermont’s entry to service marks a new phase of American undersea warfare dominance for a global Submarine Force that is ready to deter, defend and defeat threats to our nation, allies, and rules-based international order.

“This warship carries on a proud Vermont legacy in naval warfare and unyielding determination stretching back to the birth of our nation,” Caudle said. “To her crew, congratulations on completing the arduous readiness training to enter sea trials and prepare this ship for battle. I am proud to serve with each of you! Stand ready to defend our nation wherever we are threatened – honoring your motto – FREEDOM AND UNITY. May God bless our Submarine Force, the people of Vermont, and our families! From the depths, we strike!”

The ship’s sponsor, Ms. Gloria Valdez, former deputy assistant secretary of the Navy (Ships), offered her gratitude to everyone who played a role in delivering USS Vermont to service. She said she is proud to represent the crew and the first Block IV Virginia-class submarine to enter service. 

“I am very proud of the sailors and families of USS Vermont who worked so hard to bring her to life, and also feel extremely grateful to everyone who played a role preparing her to defend our nation for generations to come,” Valdez said. “I look forward to commemorating this special occasion together with the crew in the future.”

Vermont’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Charles W. Phillips III, highlighted Vermont’s accomplishments over the past several weeks getting through initial sea trials. The hard work and dedication of the entire team during the past few years was evident in the successful execution of at-sea testing. He said he is especially thankful to the crew and their families, ship sponsor Ms. Valdez, and the USS Vermont Commissioning Committee, led by Ms. Debra Martin, for all their hard work and support of the crew.

“We recognize just how important the submarine force is during this era of great power competition. As part of the nation’s maritime asymmetric advantage over our competitors, we are ready to perform whatever duty is most needed. The crew is hungry to hone our skills at-sea and become an effective fighting unit, and we will work tirelessly to justify the nation’s confidence in us. Today marks the culmination of six years of dedicated work by the men and women who constructed the nation’s newest and most capable warship. We are all honored to be part of this historic moment,” Phillips said. “We are also grateful for the families who have supported our sailors through the long process of bringing this warship to life and dedicated their time with patriotism and selfless devotion.”

USS Vermont is the third U.S. Navy ship to bear the name of the “Green Mountain State.” The first Vermont was one of nine 74-gun warships authorized by Congress in 1816. The second Vermont, Battleship No. 20, was commissioned in 1907 and first deployed in December of that same year as part of the “Great White Fleet.” She was decommissioned June 30, 1920. 

Vermont is a flexible, multi-mission platform designed to carry out the seven core competencies of the submarine force: anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; delivery of special operations forces; strike warfare; irregular warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and mine warfare.

The submarine is 377 feet long, has a 34-foot beam, and will be able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet and operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged. The ship’s construction began in May 2014, and it will provide the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation’s undersea superiority well into the 21st century. It is the first the first of 10 Virginia-class Block IV submarines. Block IV submarines incorporate design changes focused on reduced total ownership cost. By making smaller-scale design changes, the Navy will increase the length of time between maintenance stops and increase the number of deployments.

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USS Delaware Commissioned

(The Maritime Executive)

Original article appears courtesy of U.S. Department of Defense

The U.S. Navy commissioned USS Delaware (SSN 791), the 18th Virginia-class attack submarine, today, April 4, 2020.

Although the traditional public commissioning ceremony was cancelled due to public health safety and restrictions of large public gatherings, the Navy commissioned USS Delaware administratively and transitioned the ship to normal operations. Meanwhile, the Navy is looking at a future opportunity to commemorate the special event with the ship’s sponsor, crew and commissioning committee.

“This Virginia-class fast-attack submarine will continue the proud naval legacy of the state of Delaware and the ships that have borne her name,” said Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly. “I am confident that the crew of this cutting edge platform will carry on this tradition, confronting the many challenges of today’s complex world with the professionalism and agility the American people depend on from the warriors of the silent service.”

Vice Adm. Daryl Caudle, commander, Submarine Forces, said he is pleased to welcome the ship to the U.S. submarine fleet and contribute to its unmatched undersea warfighting superiority.

“The U.S. Navy values the support of all those who contributed to today’s momentous milestone and will look for a future opportunity to commemorate this special event,” Caudle said. “The sailors of USS Delaware hail from every corner of the nation and from every walk of life. This crew, and the crews who follow, will rise to every challenge with unmatched bravery and perseverance to ensure the U.S. Submarine Force remains the best in the world.”

The ship’s sponsor, Dr. Jill Biden, offered congratulations to everyone who played a role in delivering USS Delaware to service.

“I know this submarine and her crew of courageous sailors will carry the steadfast strength of my home state wherever they go,” she said. “The sailors who fill this ship are the very best of the Navy, and as you embark on your many journeys, please know that you and those whom you love are in my thoughts.”

Delaware’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Matthew Horton, said today marks the culmination of six years of hard work by the men and women who constructed the submarine and are preparing her to become a warship. He said he is especially thankful to the crew and their families, Dr. Biden, the USS Delaware Commissioning Committee and the Navy League of Hampton Roads for all their hard work and support.

“As we do our part to maintain the nation’s undersea supremacy well into the future, today marks a milestone for the sailors who serve aboard USS Delaware. Whether they have been here for her initial manning three years ago, or have just reported, they all are strong, capable submariners ready to sail the nation’s newest warship into harm’s way,” Horton said. “I am equally proud of the families who have stood by through the long hours of shift work, testing, and sea trials and supported our mission with patriotism and devotion.”

This is the first time in nearly 100 years the name “Delaware” has been used for a U.S. Navy vessel. It is the seventh U.S. Navy ship, and first submarine, to bear the name of the state of Delaware.  Delaware is a flexible, multi-mission platform designed to carry out the seven core competencies of the submarine force: anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; delivery of special operations forces; strike warfare; irregular warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and mine warfare.

The submarine is 377 feet long, has a 34-foot beam, and will be able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet and operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged. It will operate for over 30 years without ever refueling. Delaware’s keel was laid April 30, 2016, and was christened during a ceremony Oct. 20, 2018. It is the final Block III Virginia-class submarine, before the next wave of Block IV deliveries.

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