USS Savannah Commissioned in Georgia

BRUNSWICK, Ga., (Feb. 5, 2022) Sailors assigned to Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Savannah (LCS 28) man the rails during Savannah’s commissioning ceremony. Savannah is the Navy’s 14th Independence-variant littoral combat ship. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James S. Hong)

(Article appears courtesy of USNI)

The Navy commissioned USS Savannah (LCS-28) on Saturday in Brunswick, Ga., the sea service announced.

The ship is the 14th Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship to enter the fleet, according to a news release from the Navy. It is the sixth ship to bear the name Savannah.

The ship was delivered to the Navy by Austal USA in June 2021. Austral constructed Savannah at its Mobile, Ala., shipyard in fewer than three years, according to a news release from the company.

While the ship was commissioned in Brunswick, it will be homeported at Naval Base San Diego, Calif. It is sponsored by Dianne Davison Isakson, the wife of the late Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).

Isakson, as well as her daughter, gave the first order for manning the ship. They were joined by Rep. Earl Carter (R-Ga.), Meredith Berger, who is performing the duties of the under secretary of the Navy, Naval Air Systems Command chief Vice Adm. Carl Chebi, Mayor of Savannah Van Johnson and Larry Ryder, the vice president of business development and external affairs at Austal USA.

Savannah’s namesake is the city in Georgia, which has played a role in the country’s naval history, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro said in the release.

“I have no doubt the Sailors of USS Savannah (LCS 28) will carry on the fighting spirit of this city and will play an important role in the defense of our nation and maritime freedom,” Del Toro said.

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Navy Commissions USS Kansas City

Tracy Davidson, the ship sponsor of USS Kansas City (LCS 22), delivers the order to man the ship and bring her to life during a commissioning commemoration ceremony in San Diego, Dec. 17, 2021. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Vance Hand)

(Original article appears courtesy of Navy.mil)

The Navy celebrated the commissioning of Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Kansas City (LCS 22), Dec. 17, at Naval Base San Diego.

Kansas City was administratively commissioned on June 20, 2020, but due to restrictions on large gatherings because of the COVID-19 pandemic at the time, no traditional commissioning ceremony was held.

“It is important that we are taking the time now to fully celebrate this final milestone for Kansas City and to properly welcome her to sunny San Diego,” said Meredith Berger, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of the Navy and as the event’s keynote speaker.

In addition to Berger, Vice Adm. Ross Myers, Commander, Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. Fleet and a Kansas City native, was among those who spoke at the ceremony. Fifth District U.S. Representative (MO) Emanuel Cleaver II and Mayor of Kansas City Quinton Lucas were able to speak virtually at the ceremony.

Myers spoke of Kansas City’s accomplishments and milestones, as well as the contributions of the crew thus far.

“The dedication professionalism, and sacrifice you display have fueled the ship’s success already,” Meyers said. “The pandemic did not stop the crew from making an immediate and positive impact.”

Since its administrative commissioning, USS Kansas City has been an active littoral combat ship in the U.S. Navy, including successful completion of certifications and participation in exercise Resolute Hunter in November 2021.

Kansas City is the 11th of the Independence-variant to join the fleet and 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.

Kansas City was christened in a traditional ceremony at Austal shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, on Sept. 22, 2018.

“I couldn’t be prouder to be the sponsor of USS Kansas City and I am thrilled to finally be here,” said Tracey Davidson, the ship sponsor.

USS Kansas City is 377 feet long, has a 103-foot beam and can operate at speeds in excess of 40 knots. She has a crew of approximately 70 personnel.

“Thank you so much to everyone who supported us, the persistence to honor the ship in this commemoration was unyielding’” said Capt. Christopher Brusca, the commanding officer of USS Kansas City.

To ensure the health and safety of the crew and all those in attendance during the ceremony on Friday, attendance was limited and no public or media tours were held. Masks were required in all indoor spaces and encouraged in outdoor spaces.

The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is a fast, agile, mission-focused platform designed to operate in near-shore environments, winning against 21st-century coastal threats. The LCS is capable of supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence.

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USS Daniel Inouye Commissioned at Pearl Harbor

The crew of the Navy’s newest guided-missile destroyer, USS Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), man the rails during the commissioning ceremony of USS Daniel Inouye. Homeported at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, DDG 118 is the first U.S. Navy warship to honor the Honorable Daniel K. Inouye, a U.S. senator from Hawaii who served from 1962 until his death in 2012. During World War II, Inouye served in the U.S. Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team, one of the most decorated military units in U.S. history. For his combat heroism, which cost him his right arm, Inouye was awarded the Medal of Honor. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nick Bauer)

(Original article appears courtesy of Navy.mil)

The U.S. Navy commissioned its newest guided-missile destroyer, USS Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), Dec. 8, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. 

More than 1,000 guests including service members, veterans, and their families witnessed as the Navy’s 69th Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer joined the fleet.

The ship honors the local hero and statesman, Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. Sen. Inouye was a U.S. senator from Hawaii who served in congress from 1962 until his death in 2012. During World War II, Inouye served in the U.S. Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team, one of the most decorated military units in U.S. history. For his combat heroism, which cost him his right arm, Inouye was awarded the Medal of Honor.

During the ceremony, Ken Inouye, Daniel Inouye’s son, thanked the crew and the commissioning committee for honoring his father.

“I hope that in the spirit of aloha and the spirit of ohana you all consider yourselves a part of our ohana,” said Inouye.

Guest speakers for the event also included the governor of Hawaii, David Ige, Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Carlos Del Toro, and Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Paparo and Del Toro spoke about the Inouye’s capabilities as a warfighting vessel in the Pacific fleet.

“This ship, the USS Daniel Inouye, will join the U.S. Pacific Fleet and the Indo-Pacom joint team,” said Paparo. “This ship and its crew are ready to assume its critical mission: The defense and safeguarding of the well-being and interests of our nation.”

“As a former destroyer captain, I know first hand about the ability, versatility and distributive power this ship will add to our deterrent capabilities,” said Del Toro. “There is absolutely no more of a fitting name for this ship than Sen. Inouye.”

Prior to her passing on April 7, 2020, Sen. Inouye’s wife, Mrs. Irene Hirano Inouye, executed her duties as the ship’s sponsor by establishing a strong bond with the crew during traditional shipbuilding milestones at Bath Iron Works. At the keel laying in 2018, she welded her initials into the keel of the ship. In 2019, Irene broke a bottle of champagne on the bow in a christening ceremony bestowing the name on the ship. During a “mast stepping” ceremony, she placed items special to Sen. Inouye in the ship’s mast.

Mrs. Inouye appointed two Matrons of Honor to assist her with her sponsorship duties: Jessica Inouye, the wife of Senator Inouye’s only son Ken, and Jennifer Sabas, Senator Inouye’s former chief of staff and current executive director of the Daniel K. Inouye Institute.

“I ask that the crew be confident, yet humble. Take initiative, but be a team player. Remember that compassion and kindness are not weakness, and learn to disagree without being disagreeable,” said Sabas. “Those were the values the senator lived by.”

During the ceremony, the senator’s granddaughter and ceremonial maid of honor, 11-year-old Maggie Inouye, gave the traditional order, “Man our ship and bring her to life!”

After reporting the ship ready for duty, the ship’s commanding officer, Cmdr. DonAnn Gilmore recognized her crew’s hard work.

“No captain could ask for more. You have embodied the motto ‘Go for Broke’ at every challenge,” said Gilmore. “I have to look no further than the rails of the ship behind me to renew my faith in humanity and to maintain my confidence in our country’s future.”

The commissioning ceremony coincided with 80th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Remembrance commemoration events and caps a weeklong series of events celebrating the ship and its namesake. On December 7, 1941, Inouye was a 17-year-old senior at Honolulu’s McKinley High School, and rushed to a Red Cross aid station to help civilians and Sailors wounded in the attack.

USS Daniel Inouye, the first U.S. warship to bear its name, is nearly 510 feet in length and has a navigational draft of 33 feet. Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers are the backbone of the U.S. Navy’s surface fleet and critical to the future Navy. They are highly capable, multi-mission ships, and can conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management, to sea control and power projection – all in support of the United States military strategy.

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USS Marinette Christened

Ship Sponsor, The Honorable Jennifer Granholm breaks a bottle of sparkling wine on the bow of LCS 25 during the christening ceremony for the future USS Marinette. (Lockheed Martin photograph)

(Original article appears courtesy of Lockheed Martin)

Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 25, the future USS Marinette, completed its next milestone when ship sponsor, the Honorable Jennifer Granholm christened the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine on the bow of LCS 25 in a ceremony at Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin. Prior to the christening, the Lockheed Martin-led (NYSE: LMT) team launched the ship into the water on Oct. 31, 2020. LCS 25 is slated to begin acceptance trials next year.

“Today’s christening of Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 25, the future USS Marinette, marks the next critical milestone in the life of this warship. It’s an honor to celebrate this moment with the many hardworking men and women who both built the Marinette and call this great city home. The Lockheed Martin team is proud of our continued partnership with the U.S. Navy to support enhanced warfighting capabilities to this highly capable class of Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ships.” –Steve Allen, Lockheed Martin Vice President, Small Combatants and Ship Systems

“Building LCS 25 and sister ships for the U.S. Navy is an honor and we are proud to be the nation’s shipyard in the heartland. It is especially memorable to have this ship be named for the great town it’s built in. This christening is a testament to the hard work of more than 2,500 shipbuilders who pass through our gates and build American warships.” – Mark Vandroff, Fincantieri Marinette Marine CEO

Unique among combat ships, LCS is designed to complete close-to-shore missions and is a growing and relevant part of the Navy’s fleet.

  • It is flexible—with 40 percent of the hull easily reconfigurable, LCS can be modified to integrate capabilities including over-the-horizon missiles, advanced electronic warfare systems (SEWIP) and decoys (Nulka), and in future, vertical launching systems or laser weapon systems.
  • It is fast—capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots.
  • It is automated—with the most efficient staffing of any combat ship.
  • It is lethal—standard equipped with Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) and a Mark 110 gun, capable of firing 220 rounds per minute.

Lockheed Martin is in full-rate production and has delivered 11 ships to the U.S. Navy. There are five ships in various stages of production.

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Future USNS Apalachicola Christened

Austal USA christened Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF-13) USNS Apalachicola during a ceremony at its state-of-the-art ship manufacturing facility on Nov. 13. AUSTAL USA

(Original article appears courtesy of Seapower Magazine)

 Austal USA christened Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF-13) USNS Apalachicola during a ceremony at its state-of-the-art ship manufacturing facility Nov. 13, the company said in a release.  Austal has delivered twelve EPFs since December 2012. USNS Apalachicola is slated for delivery this summer. 

Former Sen. Kelly Loeffler, ship sponsor of USNS Apalachicola, performed the ceremonial bottle break over the bow of the ship, the 13th EPF designed and constructed by Austal USA and the second U.S. Navy ship to be named after the Florida coast city. The first Navy ship named Apalachicola (YTB-767), A Natick-class large harbor tug, was also built in Mobile at Mobile Ship Repair in 1963. 

“Today we celebrate the christening of the 13th EPF with an Austal team of more than 3,000 employees,” said Austal USA President Rusty Murdaugh. “Apalachicola’s sister ships are successfully supporting naval commands on the U.S. East and West Coasts, along with forward deployments in the Middle East, Africa, Mediterranean, South America, and Asia regions. In the coming months, this highly complex, high-speed ship will join the others to support our great Navy.” 

EPFs have performed humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, maritime security, surveillance, command and control, counter narcotics, and additional operations in almost every region of the world. A unique characteristic of EPF 13 is that Austal USA has been contracted to design, procure, implement, and demonstrate EPF 13 as an autonomous platform, allowing EPF 13 to operate autonomously while retaining the capability for manned operation, reducing cost and centralizing ship operations to the bridge. 

Apalachicola is one of two Expeditionary Fast Transport ships Austal USA is currently building for the U.S. Navy, while the start of construction on the future USNS Point Loma (EPF 15) will commence at the end of this month. Five littoral combat ships (LCS) are also under various stages of construction at the Gulf Coast shipyard. 

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Submarine New Jersey Christened

Crew members of pre-commissioning unit New Jersey (SSN 796) attended the christening ceremony Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021 at Newport News Shipbuilding division. (HII)

(Original article appears courtesy of the Daily Press)

Sponsor Susan DiMarco needed two swings of a bottle of sparkling wine to christen the Navy’s next attack submarine, the New Jersey.

The first in-person christening of a warship at Newport News Shipbuilding during the pandemic provided a chance to reflect on challenging times — and move through them.ADVERTISING

Christening the vessel, now officially the Virginia-class submarine New Jersey, means it is ready to take to the water — on schedule to be delivered to the Navy next year.

“Let’s remember our shared strength,” DiMarco told the crowd of 1,800 sailors, shipbuilders and folks from New Jersey who gathered on a windy Saturday morning behind Bay 4 of the Module Outfitting Facility to celebrate.

Then, shipyard president Jennifer Boykin called out: “Let’s christen this Jersey girl!”

Christening starts the final sprint for the shipyard and submarine crew, with slightly less than 20% of work still to be completed, along with the extensive testing required before any warship can be commissioned as a “United States ship.”ADVERTISING

“The future USS New Jersey will be a critical, some might say the most critical, arrow in our quiver,” Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the crowd.

“We face an adversary we have not seen before,” he said, while “recent events moved us closer to a breaking point” for American democracy than he had ever thought possible.

New Jersey is the 23rd Virginia-class fast-attack submarine, and the 11th boat to be delivered by Newport News Shipbuilding under a unique partnership with General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard in Connecticut. Newport News builds the bow, stern, sail and nuclear propulsion sections of the boats, while the two yards alternate final assembly.

“I’m glad to see the teaming agreement work so well,” Mullen said, adding that the first days of the pact, now spanning two decades, were difficult.

“Challenging times often feel like time is standing still … but milestones like today remind us that we are moving forward,” said Boykin.

Despite the pandemic, shipbuilders and suppliers “remained laser focused on meeting our commitment to the U.S. Navy — that’s moving forward,” she added. “The first Virginia-class submarine designed for male and female sailors, that’s moving forward,” she said. “New Jersey defines what made in America means.”

New Jersey will move into a floating dry dock to begin its final fitting out in the next few weeks — it’ll take three days for some 56 heavy duty sets of railcar wheels to move the 7,800 ton submarine the 960 feet to the dry dock.

On Friday, Cmdr. Carlos Otero and Master Chief Hamilton Felt did their walk-through of their submarine.

“Last week, there was still scaffolding up, there were tubes and pipes dangling everywhere, like a patient on life support,” said Felt. “Now, she looks like she’s ready to come to life.”

For Felt, seeing New Jersey free itself from its scaffolding and tubes and pipes is a big deal. He’s been at the yard since 2019, watching as 4,000 shipbuilders turned steel into a submarine.

“I’ve seen them put the pieces together to make the bow and stern,” he said. Those are the parts of all Virginia-class submarines that, along with the sail and the nuclear propulsion compartments, Newport News builds as part of its partnership with General Dynamics Electric Boat yard, in Connecticut.

“Then I saw them assemble everything here,” he added. Newport News and Electric Boat alternate assembly of Virginia-class submarines, as part of their unique teaming relationship. The New Jersey is the 11th Virginia-class submarine Newport News assembled.

The Navy and Congress would like to step up the pace of Virginia-class sub output, a five-year production process that delivers two boats a year, and shipyard officials already are eyeing Bay 4 for work on yet another sub.

The bay next to New Jersey is filled by the submarine Massachusetts — in fact, that’s where many of foreman Patrick Veloso’s second-shift crew are already at work.

“It’s a little like an assembly line,” said Veloso, a native of Newark, New Jersey. But it can be years between the time he and his teammates do one particular job on one sub before they have to do it again on the next in line, so it really doesn’t feel that way.

“Every one is different,” the 12-year veteran of submarine construction said. “And I think we get better and better with each one.”

Nuclear testing engineer Nicholas Panagotopulos, who joined the yard just a year ago, working on some of the final complete-systems testing of the nuclear propulsion system, is also concentrating on the Massachusetts these days.

But it was a big deal for the New Jersey native to work on a submarine named for his home state.

“When I was a kid, we used to go to the battleship New Jersey,” he said. “It was such a monumental piece of work. And now, I got to work on another monumental one.”

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USNS Harvey Milk Christened in San Diego

Military Sealift Command’s newest ship, fleet replenishment oiler USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206), slides into the water during the christening ceremony at General Dynamic NASSCO, San Diego. The ship honors Navy veteran and LGBT activist Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay candidates elected to public office as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1978.

(This article originally appears courtesy of navy.mil)

 Fleet replenishment oiler USNS Harvey Milk (T-AO 206), the Military Sealift Command’s newest ship, was christened during a ceremony at the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard in San Diego.

The event was attended by the family of the ship’s namesake as well as other dignitaries included Carlos Del Torro, Secretary of the Navy;  former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus; Vice Adm. Jeffery Hughes, Dep Chief Naval Operations for Warfighting Development;  Rear Admiral Stephen Barnett, Commander , Navy Region Southwest; Rear Adm. Michael Wettlaufer, Commander, Military Sealift Command; Capt. James White, Milk’s civil service master; Todd Gloria, Mayor, San Diego, Rep. Susan Davis (ret); Dr. Jen Campbell, San Diego Council President;  Anne Kronenberg, activist and Milk’s former campaign manager; members of the Harvey Milk Foundation, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

The ship honors Navy veteran and LGBT activist Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay candidates elected to public office as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1978.   He was assassinated On November 10, 1978 (10 months after he was sworn in), by fellow City Supervisor, Dan White.  Milk was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 for his activism.  USNS Harvey Milk is the first ship named for an openly gay person.

“The secretary of the Navy needed to be here today, not just to amend the wrongs of the past, but to give inspiration to all of our LGBTQ community leaders who served in the Navy, in uniform today and in the civilian workforce as well too, and to tell them that we’re committed to them in the future,” Del Toro said, noting that Milk resigned his commission and discharged from the Navy for being gay.  “For far too long, sailors like Lt. j.g.  Milk were forced into the shadows or, worse yet, forced out of our beloved Navy. That injustice is part of our Navy history, but so is the perseverance of all who continue to serve in the face of injustice.”

“My uncle never dreamed of having a ship, or a street, or a park, or a school named after him,” said Stuart Milk, Harvey’s nephew and the keynote speaker at the ceremony. “What we celebrate today is that the Navy honors the difference between tolerance and acceptance.”

The 746 foot Milk is the second ship in the new John Lewis-class previously known as the TAO(X). This class of oilers has the ability to carry 162,000 barrels of diesel ship fuel, aviation fuel and dry stores cargo.  The upgraded oiler is built with double hulls to protect against oil spills and strengthened cargo and ballast tanks, and will be equipped with a basic self-defense capability, including crew served weapons, degaussing, and Nixie Torpedo decoys, and has space, weight, and power reservations for Close In Weapon Systems such as SeaRAMs, and an Anti-Torpedo Torpedo Defense System.  The Lewis-class of oilers will replace the current Kaiser Class fleet replenishment oilers and they age out of the MSC fleet. 

“A Navy veteran and tireless advocate for equality and universal rights, having Harvey Milk as the namesake for this ship as she adds to our Nation’s strategic advantage in agile logistics is absolutely awesome!” said Wettlaufer.   “With enhanced capabilities in storage and delivery of fuel and cargo, Harvey Milk will support our Navy in the away game as we keep our country safe far from home and protect the sea lines of communication.  Important to our economic vitality and assuring allies and partners, this ship will help promote freedom of access to international seas and the rules based international order that has sustained the peace over the last 70 years.” 

Speaking before breaking a bottle of champagne across the ship’s hull, the ship’s sponsor, Paula Neira, Clinical Program Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Transgender Health and a Navy veteran said, “When Harvey Milk sails, she’ll send a message both domestically and around the globe to everybody that believes in justice and freedom and liberty, that there is a place for you in this family.” 

Following the traditional champagne christening, Milk slid down into the water with its horn blowing, streamers flying and music from the Navy Band Southwest playing.

Five more Lewis-class oilers are on order for the Navy.  In July 2016, US Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus that he would name the Lewis-class oilers after prominent civil rights activists and leaders including Earl Warren, Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone and Robert F. Kennedy.

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LCS Santa Barbara Christened

Ship sponsor Lolita Zinke christens the future USS Santa Barbara (LCS 32). AUSTAL USA

(This article originally appears courtesy of Seapower Magazine)

 Austal USA hosted the christening ceremony for the future USS Santa Barbara (LCS 32) Independence-variant littoral combat ship at the company’s Gulf Coast shipyard Oct. 16, the company said in a release. Ship sponsor Lolita Zinke performed the ceremonial bottle break over the bow of the Santa Barbara, the 16th LCS designed and constructed by Austal USA and the third U.S. Navy ship to be named after the California coast city. 

Zinke, wife of former U.S. member of Congress and former U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, was selected by then-Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer to be the ship sponsor of the future USS Santa Barbara (LCS 32). Zinke was born and raised in Santa Barbara. 

“I could never have imagined I would be standing here today ready to christen a Navy ship,” Zinke said, “let alone one named after my home town.”  

Austal USA President Rusty Murdaugh welcomed the official party and community members and employees who attended the ceremony. 

“I am proud to represent the Austal shipbuilding team today as we commemorate a significant milestone in the life of this incredible warship,” said Murdaugh. “Our talented team of shipbuilders is proud to provide our Navy with an extraordinarily capable vessel that will honor the great city of Santa Barbara as she becomes a vital part of the U.S. naval fleet protecting our Nation.” 

Santa Barbara (LCS 32) is the 16th of 19 small surface combatants Austal USA is building for the U.S. Navy. Five littoral combat ships are under various stages of construction. Austal USA is also constructing two Expeditionary Fast Transport ships for the U.S. Navy with another beginning construction next month, and the company also was recently awarded a contract to build two steel Navajo-class Towing, Salvage and Rescue ships. 

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Future USS Carl M. Levin Christened

Erica Levin, left, Kate Levin Markel, center, and Laura Levin, the daughters of late Sen. Carl M. Levin, D-Michigan, smash sparkling wine bottles to christen a warship named for the senator, Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

This article originally appeared courtesy of the Navy Times

The future USS Carl M. Levin was christened Saturday by the Michigan senator’s daughters, who simultaneously smashed bottles of sparkling wine against the warship’s bow at Bath Iron Works.

Daughters Erica Levin, Laura Levin and Kate Levin Markel honored their late father, the longtime Armed Services Committee chairman, who died at 87 on July 29 after battling cancer.

Afterward, they waved from the ship’s deck — about 30 feet above the assembly — as a band played “Anchors Aweigh.”

Levin’s nephew, U.S. Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., said his “Uncle Carl” was “overwhelmed by the honor.”

“I can honestly say, amidst all the accolades he received in fifty years of public service, this one meant most to him, and it truly captures his devotion to our nation,” said the congressman, who was joined at the event by other family members, including Carl Levin’s wife, Barbara, and Levin’s older brother, former U.S. Rep. Sander Levin.

The warship’s namesake served for 36 years in the U.S. Senate and served as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, becoming an expert on defense matters. Before that, he was an attorney and member of the Detroit City Council, serving four years as president.

He was universally praised by those who spoke at the event for his work on behalf the military, service members and veterans.

The current chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, called him a “fearless, selfless leader.” Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who counted Levin as a “cherished friend,” called him a “model of integrity, intelligence and commitment.”

Others attending the event included Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, Gov. Janet Mills and Maine’s other U.S. senator, Angus King; and Navy officials including the ship’s prospective skipper and crew.

It was a smaller-than-normal ceremony. Because of the pandemic, it was an invitation-only event with several hundred guests instead of a typical gathering of several thousand people. Shipbuilders were encouraged to watch a livestream of the event.

While Levin died before Saturday’s milestone, he had visited the shipyard a couple of times to meet with shipbuilders.

He attended a ceremony that marked construction of the ship in 2019, when he and his daughters donned visors and participated in welding their names on a plate that went on the ship.

Kate Levin Markel told the crowd that her father’s connection to the ship “kept his spirits high through his last days” and that he had even prepared a speech before he passed away. Another sister, Erica Levin, read the address in which Levin thanked shipbuilders and spoke of the “incredible honor” of having a ship bearing his name.

Christening of a Navy warship marks a milestone in construction. More work must be completed before sea trials are conducted and the Navy takes ownership before formal commissioning. The warship will eventually be based at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Arleigh Burke-class destroyers like the future USS Carl Levin are the workhorse of the U.S. fleet.

The 510-foot-long destroyers can easily top 30 knots while simultaneously waging war with enemy ships, submarines, missiles and aircraft. They’re also built to withstand chemical attacks.

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Navy Commissions USS Vermont (SSN 792)

210828-N-GR655-018 GROTON, Conn. (August 28, 2021) – The crew of the USS Vermont (SSN 792) stand at attention during a commissioning commemoration onboard Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn., Aug. 28. Vermont and crew operate under Submarine Squadron (SUBRON) FOUR, whose primary mission is to provide fast-attack submarines that are ready, willing, and able to meet the unique challenges of undersea combat and deployed operations in unforgiving environments across the globe. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Joshua Karsten/RELEASED)

(Original article appears courtesy of Navy.mil)

The Navy celebrated the commissioning of USS Vermont (SSN 792), the first Block IV Virginia-class submarine to enter service, Saturday, Aug. 28, at Naval Submarine Base New London

“Vermonters have served with valor from the highest mountains to the depths of the ocean,” said Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, who served as the event’s keynote speaker and was attending his first ship ceremony as secretary.

“This vessel has already proven itself in service, not only because it was designed the right way, but because of the exemplary work of the men aboard,” he continued.

Vermont was administratively commissioned on April 18, 2020, but due to restrictions on large gatherings because of the COVID-19 pandemic at the time, no traditional commissioning ceremony was held. To ensure the health and safety of the crew and all those in attendance during the ceremony Saturday, attendance was limited and no public or media tours were held. Masks were required in all indoor spaces and encouraged in outdoor spaces.

Since its administrative commissioning, USS Vermont has been an active submarine in the U.S. Navy, including participation in anti-submarine warfare exercises alongside the Brazilian navy in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations in December of 2020.

In addition to Del Toro, Rear Adm. Douglas Perry, director of undersea warfare on the chief of naval operations’ staff and a Vermont native, was among those who spoke at the Saturday ceremony.

Perry spoke of the legacies of previous Navy ships with Vermont ties and military heroes from the state’s past, like Ethan Allen during the Revolutionary War and 19th Century Admiral of the Navy George Dewey.

“The Green Mountain State’s legacy of naval service runs deep,” Perry said. “You join a rich history of honorable service.”

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

The submarine Vermont was christened in a traditional ceremony at General Dynamics’ Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, Connecticut, on Oct. 20, 2018.

“She was built by the best, for the best, and is the best of the best,” said Gloria Valdez, the ship sponsor and a former deputy assistant secretary of the Navy overseeing shipbuilding and modernization. “She is the most technologically advanced submarine in the world.”

USS Vermont 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. She has a crew of more than 130 Navy personnel.

“We get to finally say, ‘The ship’s in commission, thank you so much to everyone who supported us,’” said Cmdr. Charles Phillips, the commanding officer of USS Vermont. “This represents the people of Vermont. We want to make them proud and let them justify their confidence in us as we defend our country.”

Fast-attack submarines are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence. They are designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship warfare, strike warfare, special operations, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, irregular warfare and mine warfare. Fast-attack submarines project power ashore with special operations forces and Tomahawk cruise missiles in the prevention or preparation of regional crises.

Block IV Virginia-class submarines incorporate design changes focused on reduced total ownership cost. By making these smaller-scale design changes to increase the component-level lifecycle of the submarine, the Navy will increase the periodicity between depot maintenance availabilities and increase the number of deployments.

Blocks I-III Virginia-class submarines are planned to undergo four depot maintenance availabilities and conduct 14 deployments. Block IV design changes are intended to reduce planned availabilities by one to three, and increase deployments to 15.

Also speaking at the ceremony Saturday were members of the Vermont and Connecticut congressional delegations: U.S. Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont, U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney of Connecticut and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.

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