Navy leaders, Oakland city officials and a socially distanced audience attended the ceremony for the third ship in naval service to be named in honor of the city of Oakland. The first USS Oakland was a transport cargo ship commissioned in 1918. The second Oakland was a light cruiser that served in World War II, earning nine battle stars.
Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Harker delivered the ceremony’s principal address.
“We now have a finished warship behind us that is ready to be placed into commission,” said Harker. “This ship is a marvel of engineering, which will extend our capabilities for any mission across the blue water, from shoreline to shoreline.”
Guest speakers for the event also included U.S. Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Sean Buck, Program Executive Office Rear Adm. Casey Moton, Austal USA Vice President Larry Ryder and Mayor of Oakland Libby Schaaf.
Kate Brandt, Google’s sustainability officer and the ship’s sponsor, delivered the time-honored Navy order to Oakland’s crew to “Man our ship and bring her to life!”
Oakland’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Francisco X. Garza, reported the ship ready.
“I am incredibly proud of this crew for their dedication to shipmate and ship as we worked toward the commissioning of USS Oakland, said Garza. “We are honored to carry the name ‘Oakland’ into the fleet.”
Oakland will be homeported in San Diego with littoral combat ships USS Independence (LCS 2), USS Coronado (LCS 4), USS Jackson (LCS 6), USS Montgomery (LCS 8), USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), USS Omaha (LCS 12), USS Manchester (LCS 14), USS Tulsa (LCS 16), USS Charleston (LCS 18), USS Cincinnati (LCS 20), and USS Kansas City (LCS 22).
The ship’s namesake, Col. Harvey “Barney” Barnum, Jr. (USMC, Ret.) and his wife and ship sponsor, Martha Hill, attended the event. Acting Secretary of the Navy, Thomas W. Harker, Maine Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, Jr. and Member of the House of Representatives from Maine, Chellie Pingree were also in attendance.
With the assistance of BIW welder Marty Fish, Col. Barnum inscribed his signature onto the keel plate. As the sponsor, Martha Hill authenticated the keel by etching her initials into the keel plate, a tradition that symbolically recognizes the joining of modular components and the ceremonial beginning of the ship. “Col. Barnum has spent his life in service to our country and it is an honor to lay the keel of his ship,” said Capt. Seth Miller, DDG 51 class program manager. “This ship and all who serve aboard it will be a reminder of the honor, courage, and commitment that Col. Barnum embodies.”
Col. Barnum twice served in Vietnam and is a Medal of Honor recipient for heroic actions taken against communist forces at Ky Phu in Quang Tin Province in December 1965 after his company came under enemy fire and was separated from the rest of their battalion.
DDG 124 is a Flight IIA destroyer equipped with Aegis Baseline 9, which provides improved Integrated Air and Missile Defense capabilities, increased computing power, and radar upgrades that improve detection range and reaction time against modern air warfare and Ballistic Missile Defense threats.
BIW is also in production on the future Arleigh Burke-class destroyers Carl M. Levin (DDG 120), John Basilone (DDG 122), Patrick Gallagher (DDG 127), and Flight III ships, Louis H. Wilson, Jr. (DDG 126), and William Charette (DDG 130), as well as the future Zumwalt-class destroyer, Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002).
As one of the Defense Department’s largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, boats and craft.
The future USNS Apalachicola is the second ship named in honor of the city of Apalachicola, Fla: the first, a large harbor tug (YTB-767), served from 1965 to 2002.
The newbuild is part of the US Navy’s T-EPF program encompassing 14 high-speed transport vessels from Austal.
The USNS Apalachicola (T-EPF-13) will be the thirteenth Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport ship built for the U.S. Navy and will be operated by the MSC (Military Sealift Command). The MSC is an organization that controls the replenishment and military transport ships of the United States Navy. Military Sealift Command has the responsibility for providing sealift and ocean transportation for all US military services as well as for other government agencies.
The Austal-built EPF is a shallow draft, all aluminum, commercial-based catamaran that is designed for high-speed intra-theater surface lift and serves in a variety of roles for the military branches to include support of overseas contingency operations, conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions and supporting special operations forces.
The 103 meter T-EPF is capable of transporting 600 short tons up to 1,200 nautical miles at an average speed of 35 knots.
The ships can operate in shallow-draft ports and waterways, interface with roll-on/roll-off discharge facilities, and on/off-load a combat-loaded Abrams Main Battle Tank (M1A2). They have a core crew of 21 people, with airline style seating for more than 312 embarked forces and fixed berthing for 146.
The EPF includes a flight deck for helicopter operations and an off-load ramp that allows vehicles to quickly drive off the ship.
The US Navy awarded contracts to Austal for the EPF 13 in 2018 and 2019.
The Virginia-class attack submarine Massachusetts SSN 798 is the 25th Virginia-class fast attack submarine being built under the teaming agreement with General Dynamics Electric Boat. Construction began in March 2017 and is approximately 50% complete. The boat is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in 2023. Massachusetts was part of a $17.6 billion contract awarded by the U.S. Navy to prime contractor General Dynamics Electric Boat to construct ten Virginia-class submarines.
The Virginia-class is a nuclear-powered cruise missile fast-attack submarine. Currently, 19 Virginia-class submarines are in service with the U.S. Navy and another batch of 18 submarines are already ordered by the U.S. Navy.
The U.S. Navy has been procuring Virginia-class SSNs since Fiscal Year 1998 and the first submarine entered service in October 2004. The baseline Virginia-class design is slightly larger than the Los Angeles-class design but incorporates newer technologies, including technologies used in the Seawolf-class design
The U.S. Navy has three classes of SSNs (Submersible Ship Nuclear) in service. Los Angeles-class (SSN 688) submarines are the backbone of the submarine force, with approximately 40 now in commission. The U.S. Navy also has three Seawolf-class submarines. Commissioned July 19, 1997, USS Seawolf (SSN 21) is exceptionally quiet, fast, well-armed, and equipped with advanced sensors.
The U.S. Navy continues to build the next-generation attack submarine, the Virginia (SSN 774) class. More than a dozen Virginias have been commissioned to date, and they will replace Los Angeles Class submarines as they retire. The Virginia-class is available in five Blocks from I to V.
The Virginia-class Block I to IV is armed with 12 VLS Vertical Launching System (Tomahawk BGM-109) tubes, four 533 mm torpedo tubes (Mk-48 torpedo), RGM-84 Harpoon, 25 torpedoes & missiles (torpedo room) + 12 missiles (VLS tubes), while the Block V will be armed with VPM module (28 Tomahawk BGM-109), VLS (Tomahawk BGM-109) tubes, four 533 mm torpedo tubes (Mk-48 torpedo), RGM-84 Harpoon and 65 torpedoes & missiles.
The U.S. Navy held a keel-laying ceremony on Oct. 27 for the future USS Santa Barbara (LCS 32) at the Austal USA shipyard.
Lolita Zinke, the ship’s sponsor, authenticated the keel in a small ceremony, with limited attendance due to health and safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As Santa Barbara’s sponsor, Zinke serves as an advocate and honorary member of the crew.
David Growden, vice president of Small Surface Combatant Programs, Austal USA; and Cmdr. Kris Netemeyer, LCS program manager’s representative, Supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast Detachment, spoke at the ceremony.
“Through this new warship and the name she bears, we honor a city that represents the very best of the American spirit,” said Capt. Mike Taylor, LCS program manager. “We set forth the Santa Barbara armed with the most adaptive and effective capabilities, designed to defend the United States.”
The littoral combat ship (LCS) class consists of the Freedom-variant and Independence-variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Independence team is led by Austal USA, which produces the even-numbered hulls. LCS 32 is the 16th Independence-variant ship. There are 11 LCSs of both variants currently under construction.
LCS is a highly maneuverable, lethal and adaptable ship designed to support focused mine countermeasures, anti-submarine and surface warfare missions. The Independence-variant LCS integrates new technology and capability to support current and future mission capability, from deep water to the littorals.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.