SAN DIEGO – The Navy’s newest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship, the future USS Little Rock (LCS 9) will be commissioned at 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 16 at Canalside in Buffalo, New York. Media is also invited to cover a media availability/tour on December 14.
The honorable John Boozman, Arkansas’s senior U.S. Senator and the dean of the state’s Congressional delegation will deliver the commissioning ceremony's principal address. Mrs. Janée Bonner, the wife of former Alabama Congressman Jo Bonner, will serve as sponsor of the ship. The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when Mrs. Bonner will give the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”
Cmdr. Todd Peters, a native of St. Augustine, Florida is the commanding officer of the ship and leads the core crew of 70 officers and enlisted personnel. The 3,400-ton Little Rock was built by Lockheed Martin-led Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin. The ship is 389 feet in length, has a beam of 57.5 feet, and a navigational draft of 13.5 feet. The ship uses two gas turbine engines, two propulsion diesels, and four waterjets to speeds up to 45-plus knots.
LCS 9 is the tenth littoral combat ship to enter the fleet and the fifth of the Freedom variant. It is the second warship named for the Arkansas state capital.
The original USS Little Rock began its service as a light cruiser when World War II was coming to an end in 1945. It was officially decommissioned in 1949 and recommissioned in 1960 as a guided missile cruiser, before being taken out of service in 1976 and brought to Buffalo as a museum at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park.
The commissioning of the future Little Rock will mark the first time in the Navy’s 242-year history that a ship will be commissioned alongside its namesake ship.
For those unable to attend, the ceremony will be live-streamed at: http://www.navy.mil/ah_online/live/ah-live.asp. The link will become active approximately 10 minutes prior to the event (10:50 a.m. EST).
The littoral combat ship is a fast, agile, mission-focused platform designed to operate in near-shore environments, while capable of open-ocean tasking and winning against 21st-century coastal threats such as submarines, mines, and swarming small craft. As a mission-focused platform, they are capable of supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control and deterrence.
USS Little Rock will be homeported at Naval Station Mayport, Florida.
NOTE FOR MEDIA:
Press interested in covering commissioning week events for the future USS Little Rock, please note media opportunities below. Media should RSVP no later than 2 p.m. Wednesday, December 13 to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com by providing reporter/photographer/videographer’s full name and media outlet.
All media will be met at the ship’s entry control point at Canalside for security sweep at the times noted below. Please be ready to present valid U.S. state/federal government issued photo identification:
1. The media availability/ship tour is from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 14. The end of the media tour will feature an enlistment ceremony for Buffalo-area citizens entering all branches of the U.S. armed forces. Media interested in covering the media availability/ship tour should arrive at noon.
2. Commissioning Ceremony is at 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 16. Media will meet at 10:00 a.m.