MARINETTE, Wis. - The crews of the Navy’s newest littoral combat ship, Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Milwaukee (LCS 5), conducted a mast-stepping ceremony at the Marinette Marine Corporation in Marinette, Wis., Dec. 18.
Mast-stepping, an ancient Greek and Roman practice of putting coins at the base of a mast of a ship under construction has continued throughout history.
In current naval tradition, coins and other items that highlight the heritage of the ship are placed in a container and welded into the mast.
Sylvia M. Panetta, the ship’s sponsor, joined the ship’s prospective commanding officers, Cmdr. Michael Brasseur (LCS Crew 111) and Cmdr. Kendall Bridgewater (LCS Crew 104), and distinguished guests from the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Marinette, Wis., placing coins and other artifacts representing the heritage of the ship and namesake city into the container.
Included in the container are five coins from the first 5 LCS ships built, five coins representing the military history of Milwaukee, Mayor Tom Barrett’s Milwaukee Mayors office coin, five coins representing the city’s support of Wisconsin’s Armed Forces, and five nickels representing the year of the ship’s christening and the founding year the Institute that was established by the Panetta family.
Milwaukee cultural artifacts included a capsule of water from Lake Michigan and San Diego, representing the first homeport and the first body of water the USS Milwaukee will be received in, a Milwaukee Art Museum pin, representing the foundation and strength of the city of Milwaukee, a Fonzi doll jacket from Happy Days, representing the significance in pop culture of the city of Milwaukee, and San Diego Harley Davidson bells, representing safe travels from one rider to another.
Marinette Marine Corporation sealed the mast-stepping container. It will be welded into the ship’s mast at a later date.