(KNSI) – History was made in Duluth on Saturday as the littoral combat ship USS Minneapolis-St. Paul was officially commissioned and entered service.
On a cool, rainy Saturday, a few hundred people, including Navy veterans and their families, lawmakers and the ship’s crew, gathered at the Duluth Seaway Port Authority to put the USS Minneapolis-St . Paul on duty. Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Jodi Greene, the ship’s sponsor, gave a rousing speech saying, “As crew, you have already proven your strength and determination to prepare for this momentous day. . You prepared this ship to take its place in the fleet in difficult times. All eyes were on you as you continued to blaze this trail.
Greene then ordered from the platform: “Pilot our ship and bring it back to life.” As “Anchors Aweigh” was played by the Navy Band Great Lakes, the men and women of LCS-121 raced aboard, jogging through the cheering and cheering crowd.
Ceremony participants were Mayor Jacob Frey, City of Minneapolis; Mayor Melvin Carter, City of Saint Paul; Mayor Emily Larson, City of Duluth; Back. Adm. Casey Moton, Program Executive Office, Unmanned and Small Combatants; Mark Vandroff, Managing Director, Fincantieri Marinette Marine; Capt. David Miller, Commanding Officer, 2nd Littoral Combat Ship Squadron; Captain Andy Gold, Littoral Combat Ship Program Manager, Program Executive Office, Unmanned and Small Combatants; Brian Kriese, NCO in Charge, Bath Marinette Detachment Naval Construction Supervisor; and matrons of honor, Nicole Sunberg and Carly Olsen.
Built by Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin. Minneapolis-Saint Paul was launched and christened on June 15, 2019. A design propulsion failure delayed her entry into service, and after the ship completed acceptance trials on August 21, 2020, she was delivered to the ‘US Navy on November 18, 2021.
“I am incredibly proud of this crew for their dedication to shipmates and the ship as we worked to commission USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul,” said Cmdr. Alfonza White, commandant of Minneapolis-Saint Paul. “We are honored to carry the Minneapolis-Saint Paul name in the fleet.”
This is the first time a Navy warship has been commissioned in Minnesota. Minneapolis-Saint Paul is the second Navy ship to honor Minnesota’s Twin Cities. The first United States Navy warship named Minneapolis-Saint Paul was a Los Angeles-class submarine launched in 1983 that participated in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (SSN 708) was the first submarine to carry specially designed Tomahawk missiles for use in strikes against Iraq during the Gulf War. Having served more than two decades with distinction, the submarine was decommissioned in 2007.
The LCS-121 is a fast, agile, mission-focused platform designed to operate in coastal environments while also being capable of operating in the open ocean. With a top speed of 40 knots or 46 miles per hour, it is designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats and can support forward presence, maritime security, maritime control and deterrence.
Minneapolis-Saint Paul will be based at Naval Station Mayport, Florida.
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