MOBILE, Ala. -- The crew of USS Montgomery (LCS 8) ushered in a new era in naval warfare, Sept. 10, as they brought the ship to life before a crowd of nearly 5,000 Alabamians.
"These are truly special events. We are here this morning to welcome the newest ship to the fleet, USS Montgomery, and to thank our shipbuilders, Sailors, Navy civilians, and the dedicated patriots of Mobile and Montgomery who have banded together to put the finishing pieces together," said Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Bill Moran in his principal address.
Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions’ wife, Mrs. Mary Blackshear Sessions, is the ship's sponsor. It's the second ship to bear the name of Alabama's capital city. The name held a special meaning for many of those at the commissioning as it was named after the capital, built in Mobile, and commissioned in Mobile.
"USS Montgomery's speed, versatility, and lethality will play a key role in protecting U.S. interests around the globe," said Moran. "She will be used as the right arm of the Navy's forward presence to reassure our friends, partners, and allies, and to remind potential adversaries that the U.S. Navy is there to stay and ready to preserve the peace no matter what."
Forward presence remains critical for the U.S. Navy and our allies. As more ships like Montgomery are commissioned over the coming years, our Navy will deploy additional LCS’ and increase overall forward presence.
A crowning moment of the commissioning ceremony occurred as the ship’s bell from the 1894 USS Montgomery (C 9) graced the platform. The bell featured yet another historical nexus; it was framed and supported by teak wood from the deck planks of USS Alabama (BB 60) which served in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters during WWII. The bell was used to signal the commissioning of USS Montgomery (C 9), the first ship to carry the great name of the City of Dreams, 122 years ago. It again found its home on board a ship bearing the name Montgomery, this time on the Navy’s newest littoral combat ship, as it signaled her commission and her maiden voyage to her home port of San Diego.
The historic bell will serve as a tangible connection to the past, even as the ship sails into the future. The teak from the decks of the USS Alabama (BB 60) will be a visible reminder of the Navy’s legacy. A legacy passed from generation to generation which transcends any one individual. Decades from now as the last Sailor leaves the mighty warship and the bell sounds the end of her service, the crew may still feel the spirit of the Sailors who have sailed before and remember their connection to the past that can never be broken.
Cmdr. Daniel Straub, the ship’s Commanding Officer, said that commissioning Montgomery with Mary Sessions was the highlight of his 33-year Navy career.
“I am honored and humbled to be a part of this amazing warship and crew,” said Straub. “I am excited to have the opportunity to sail this ship over the horizon with the name of the City of Dreams, Montgomery, represented all over the world.”
The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is one of the Navy’s newest, most technologically advanced and capable tools of sea power projection, distributed lethality, security, and stability in waters around the world. A fast, agile, and focused mission platform, it is designed for operation in near-shore environments, yet capable of open ocean operation independently or with a strike group. LCS fulfills a crucial role in the six core areas of the Navy’s Maritime Defense Strategy; forward presence, deterrence, sea control, sea power projection, maritime security, and humanitarian assistance/disaster response (HA/DR). These versatile platforms are designed to employ a “minimal manning” concept. A core crew consists of 53 highly accomplished Sailors who operate the ship’s systems, stand watch, and conduct maintenance.
One of Montgomery’s unique, defining characteristics is her speed and maneuverability. Unlike most naval ships which utilize propellers and rudders to “drive” the ship, Montgomery has four steerable water jets. The ability to control both angle and thrust of the water jet makes Montgomery one of the most agile and maneuverable ships in the fleet. With her light weight trimaran hull design coupled with the power from her gas turbine and diesel engines, Montgomery is capable of 40 plus knots or more than 46 miles per hour.
"World events don't remain static and neither will our Navy," said Vice Adm. Thomas S. Rowden, commander, Naval Surface Forces. "As more LCS’ are deployed forward, these innovative ships will deliver the forward presence for our fleet commanders."
The USS Montgomery (LCS 8) is currently commanded by Commander Dan Straub, and manned by LCS Crew 208 and Mine Warfare Detachment Six. Montgomery and her crew have been deployed from their homeport of San Diego since March. LCS 8 will be home ported at Naval Base San Diego.