MOBILE, Ala. – Sailors from the blue and gold crews of PCU Independence (LCS 2) took time out of their busy precommissioning schedule Dec. 3 to attend the Mobile, Ala., Navy League’s holiday formal and celebrate the sea services past and present.
Donned in full dress uniforms, the Sailors were welcomed by Mobile Navy League president Dick Pennington at the Battleship Park Museum, which is home to numerous aircraft, a submarine, and the battleship USS Alabama (BB 60).
“The city of Mobile has really made us feel welcome,” said Cmdr. Michael Riley, Independence’s gold crew commanding officer. “I want to extend my gratitude to the Mobile Navy League for everything they have been doing and continue to do for us.”
Civilians and service members mingled and toured a bit of the museum, viewing historic military aircraft, as well as LCS presentations. Members of the Navy League took advantage of the event to ask questions about LCS 2 and get to know her crew.
“I was a Navy wife for many wonderful years,” one guest remarked. “It is such a treat for us to see these uniforms again.”
Of particular interest to all in attendance was a three dimensional cake in the shape of Independence complete with working running lights. The three-foot-long cake was sculpted and meticulously decorated over the course of two days by Independence’s very own Culinary Specialist 1st Class (SW) Nicholas Young, Culinary Specialist 1st Class Alicia Russo, and Gas Turbine Systems Technician 1st Class (SW) Michael Harwig.
Aside from festivities and conversation about the Navy’s newest breed of ship, guests were treated to the first ever reenlistment of an active duty sailor at a Mobile Navy League dinner.
Electronics Technician 1st Class (SW/AW) Timothy Reul was discharged from the Navy by Riley and sworn in by Mobile Mayor Samuel Jones, who served in the Navy for nine years, including a tour on the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal (CV 59).
Independence is the second littoral combat ship to be built for the Navy. The LCS 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.