The Navy will commission its newest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship, USS Milwaukee (LCS 5), during a 2 p.m. EST ceremony Saturday, Nov. 21 at Veterans Park on Milwaukee’s waterfront.

Milwaukee, designated LCS 5, honors the city of Milwaukee and is the fifth U.S. ship in our nation’s history to be named in honor of Milwaukee.
Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Sylvia M. Panetta, wife of former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, is serving as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she will give the order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

“The spirit of the people of Wisconsin is evident in the work of the shipbuilders whose tireless efforts have brought the soon-to-be USS Milwaukee to life,” said the Honorable Ray Mabus, secretary of the Navy. “It is this spirit that will live on through this ship as it carries the name Milwaukee across the globe and helps ensure our Navy and Marine Corps remain the most formidable expeditionary fighting force the world has ever known.”

The first Milwaukee, a double turreted river monitor, was commissioned Aug. 27, 1864 during the Civil War. She sank on March 28, 1865 but was raised in 1868, towed to St. Louis and used in the construction of the James B. Eads Bridge across the Mississippi. The second Milwaukee (C 21), a St. Louis-class protected cruiser, was commissioned on Dec. 10, 1906 based at San Diego. The cruiser stranded in the first line of breakers in Humboldt Bay, California. The crew reached shore safely but attempts to salvage the ship were unsuccessful. The third Milwaukee (CL-5), an Omaha-class light cruiser, commissioned on June 20, 1923, was fitted with the latest depth-finding equipment of its time. The U.S. Navy discovered the deepest place in the Atlantic on Feb. 14, 1939, just north of Puerto Rico, a 28,680-foot depth known as the “Milwaukee Deep.” She performed a variety of missions, became part of the Soviet Navy, returned to the U.S. Navy in 1949 and decommissioned. The fourth Milwaukee (AOR 2), a Wichita-class replenishment oiler, was commissioned on Jan. 3, 1970. After earning a campaign star for Vietnam War service, Milwaukee also had the distinct privilege to transport the King Tut exhibition to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1976. She served until 1994.

Milwaukee is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet 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 LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant – designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered hulls, e.g. LCS 1). The Independence variant team is being led by Austal USA (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls) and was originally led by General Dynamics, Bath Iron Works (LCS 2 and LCS 4).

The LCS seaframes will be outfitted with reconfigurable payloads, called mission modules (made up of mission systems and support equipment), which can be changed 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.

Media may direct queries to the Navy Office of Information at 703-697-5342. For more information about the Littoral Combat Ship class:http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4200&tid=1650&ct=4

Release No: NR-443-15
November 19, 2015

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