MOBILE, AL -- The crew of the Navy's newest Littoral Combat Ship, Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Jackson (LCS 6), conducted a mast-stepping ceremony at the Austal USA shipbuilding facility auditorium in Mobile, Ala., March 21.
Mast-stepping, an ancient Greek and Roman practice of putting coins at the base of a ship’s mast while 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.
Dr. Katherine Cochran, the ship sponsor, joined the prospective Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Michael Davies (LCS Crew 212), the Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, commander of Naval Sea Systems Command, Vice Adm. William Hillarides, and distinguished guests from the State of Mississippi, city of Jackson, Austal USA, General Dynamics– Advanced Information Systems, NROTC Unit– University of Mississippi, Navy League of the U.S. Mississippi Council - Commissioning Committee, Marine Corps League, Department of Mississippi, Mississippi Veterans Affairs Board, Military Order of the World Wars, and Jackson State University in placing coins and other artifacts representing the ship’s heritage and namesake city into the container.
Included in the container are a PCU Jackson christening coin created by Austal USA, a Boatswain’s pipe from General Dynamics–Advanced Information Systems, the Secretary of the Navy coin, Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command coin, a blue-green kingfisher figurine from Dr. Cochran, six challenge coins created by LCS Crew 212, six challenge coins from various organizations around Mississippi supporting the future USS Jackson (LCS 6), scroll listing the name and hometown of LCS Crew 212 plankowners, six photos of LCS Crew 212 representing unity of effort and esprit de corps, six state quarters, crew nametags of the oldest and youngest sailor on LCS Crew 212, a City of Jackson lapel pin, and patches from the city of Jackson police and fire departments.
Austal USA sealed the mast-stepping container. It will be welded into the ship's mast at a later date.