By R. Mitchell –
The Navy will christen its newest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (LCS 21), during a 10 a.m. CDT ceremony Saturday, June 15, in Marinette, Wisconsin.
U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota will deliver the christening ceremony’s principal address. Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy Jodi Greene will serve as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, Ms. Greene will christen the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.
“The christening of the future USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul marks an important step toward this great ship’s entry into the fleet,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “The dedication and skilled work of our industry partners have ensured this ship will represent the great city of Minneapolis-Saint Paul and serve our Navy and Marine Corps team for decades to come.”
The future USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul 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 ship will be homeported in Mayport, Florida.
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 in Marinette, Wisconsin (for the odd-numbered hulls). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).
LCS 21 is the 11th Freedom-variant LCS, the 21st in the class. She is the second ship named in honor of Minnesota’s twin cities. The first was a Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine that served from 1984 to 2008. Two U.S. Navy ships have been named for Minneapolis and two for St. Paul. The first Minneapolis was a cruiser commissioned from 1894 until 1921. The second Minneapolis was a New Orleans-class cruiser commissioned in 1934, earning 16 battle stars for World War II service by 1946, when it was decommissioned. The first St. Paul, a passenger liner chartered by the Navy, served in the Spanish-American War and in World War I. The second St. Paul was a Baltimore-class cruiser commissioned in 1945, earned one battle star for World War II service, eight battle stars for Korean service, and eight battle stars for Vietnam service by the time it was decommissioned in 1971.
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