This morning, despite the fact that the USS Milwaukee is iced in at Marinette, the vessel's commanding officer, the ship's builder and other dignitaries are officially presenting the USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) to Milwaukee's business and political leaders at a breakfast in the Pilot House at Discovery World.
One glance at the frozen lake and you'll understand why the new USS Milwaukee is still moored in the town in which it was built. I read yesterday that 79 percent of the lake is frozen and Milwaukee's harbor is one of the few places to have some open water.
But The Pilot House is packed this morning nevertheless and the group will hear speakers including Commissioning Committee Chair, Vice Admiral Dirk J. Debbink, U.S. Navy Reserve (retired), Chuck Goddard, president and CEO of Marinette Marine Corporation (which built the ship), USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) Commanding Officer, Commander Michael Brasseur, Mayor Tom Barrett, County Executive Chris Abele and Gov. Scott Walker.
"Milwaukee's christening serves as a tribute to this great American city, but also to the hard working people of Wisconsin and our nation's entire industrial base," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus in a statement issued on the occasion of the christening of the vessel by Sylvia Panetta, wife of former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
"LCS is one of our most important platforms and represents the future of the Navy. Our commitment to this program remains as steadfast as that of those who helped build this great ship."
The 388-foot long littoral combat ship – which can reach speeds above 40 knots – will be the fifth vessel to carry the USS Milwaukee name.
The first was a Civil War-era double-turret ironclad river monitor. The second, a St. Louis-class cruiser (C-21), was lost in 1916 while attempting to free a submarine that had run aground. The third USS Milwaukee was an Omaha-class light cruiser (CL-5), which served through World War II in the Atlantic, and the fourth was a Wichita-class replenishment oiler (AOR 2), that was decommissioned in 1994.
The new USS Milwaukee is the only one of the five to have been built in Wisconsin.
According to the Navy, Littoral combat ships are fast, agile surface combatants optimized for war fighting in the highly trafficked near-shore regions of the world against asymmetric "anti-access" threats. Through its innovative design, LCS can be reconfigured for surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and mine countermeasures. This versatility enables Navy to provide war fighters with the most capable, cost-effective solutions to gain, sustain and exploit littoral maritime supremacy.
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