Navy Announces Christening of Littoral Combat Ship Little Rock

The Navy’s newest littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Little Rock (LCS 9), will be christened Saturday, July 18, during a 10 a.m. CDT ceremony at Marinette Marine Corporation‘s shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin. The event will be webcast live at http://navylive.dodlive.mil under the webcast section.

The Honorable Ray Mabus, secretary of the Navy will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Janée L. Bonner, spouse of the Honorable Josiah “Jo” Bonner, former U.S. representative of Alabama, is the ship’s sponsor. Bonner will officially christen the ship Little Rock.

“The christening of the future USS Little Rock is a celebration of our incredible shipbuilding industry and the men and women who worked so hard to build this great ship,” said Mabus. “It is also a reminder of the importance of connecting the American people with the sailors and Marines who sail aboard our ships, often far from home, to protect the freedoms we enjoy. The name Little Rock will tie this ship and her crew, regardless of their position on the globe, to a great American city…just as it did when I served aboard the first USS Little Rock during my years in the Navy.”

The fifth littoral combat ship of the Freedom variant will bear the name Little Rock to honor the capital city of Arkansas. Designated LCS 9, the littoral combat ship will be the second ship of the U.S. Navy to bear the name Little Rock.

The first USS Little Rock (CL 92) was in service from 1945-1949, serving off Cuba, transiting the Panama Canal. Later, she sailed in the Mediterranean 1947-1948. After a three-year conversion to a guided-missile cruiser, USS Little Rock (CLG 4) was recommissioned in 1960. During November 1961, Little Rock was ordered to the waters off Santo Domingo to provide stability during a period of unrest that following the assassination of President Rafael Trujillo.

USS Little Rock was the 6th Fleet’s flagship during the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War June 5-10, 1967. On June 5, 1975, USS Little Rock represented the United States during the ceremony at Port Said, Egypt, for the reopening of the Suez Canal that had been closed since the June 1967 Six-Day War. She was the only foreign warship in the official flotilla that sailed down the canal to Ismailia for the occasion.

In 1975, Little Rock and other ships of the 6th Fleet provided protection and assistance during the June-July 1976 evacuations of non-Lebanese citizens of Beirut, Lebanon. Little Rock was decommissioned on Nov. 22, 1976, and then donated as a museum ship. On June 30, 1979, USS Little Rock opened to the public, at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park, Buffalo, New York.

LCS delivers enhanced capability to the fleet. The future USS Little Rock was laid down June 27, 2013. At 3400-tons, it is 388 feet in length, has a beam of 57 feet, and can operate at more than 40 knots. The LCS seaframes will be outfitted with reconfigurable payloads, called mission modules (made up of mission systems and support equipment), which can be changed out quickly. These modules combine with crew detachments and aviation assets to become complete mission packages, which will deploy manned and unmanned vehicles and sensors in support of mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare, or surface warfare missions. The ship’s commissioning date is anticipated to be in 2016.

Additional information about the LCS class, Freedom variant, is available online athttp://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4200&tid=1650&ct=4

Release No: NR-284-15
July 17, 2015

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