Nearly 6,500 people gathered in front of the General Motors building at the Port of Detroit for the commissioning ceremony for the U.S. Navy’s new Freedom-variant littoral combat ship (LCS), USS Detroit (LCS 7), on October 22, when the ship was officially placed in commission by Adm. Phil Davidson, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command.
“When a ship is commissioned she is placed in service of the American people and is given the charge to do one thing: to execute the Navy's mission – to be prepared to conduct prompt, sustained combat incident to operations at sea,” Davidson said.
After an order from the ship's sponsor, Detroit native Barbara Levin, wife of former U.S. Senator Carl Levin
, the crowd cheered as members of the crew ran aboard the ship, manned its rails and brought the vessel to life.
The commissioning ceremony capped off a week of events including public tours, a media day and even participation at a Detroit Red Wings game. The ship's electronic materials officer, Lt. Christina Danai, noted the enthusiasm that the ship's namesake displayed during commissioning week: “This city has been overwhelming accommodating and a class-act.”
“They've treated our crew with kindness. It's exciting for the city and the crew has come together to make sure the public has a great experience. More than 1,000 people toured this ship this week,” Danai said.
U.S. Navy ships are rarely commissioned in the city for which they are named. As such, the state of Michigan was well represented during the event by Michigan's Governor, Rick Snyder; Mayor of Detroit, Mike Duggan; and U.S. Senators, Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow
“USS Detroit is truly blessed to have the opportunity to commission in its namesake city,” said Cmdr. Michael P. Desmond, captain of LCS 7. “The ship and the city of Detroit have already established a relationship that will last decades.”
Stabenow noted the commissioning was taking place “on a pure Michigan day” and thanked USS Detroit's crew for the years of hard work leading up to the culminating event.
Davidson also acknowledged the ship's crew and recognized that everybody involved with the ship have a connection to something bigger than themselves. “Today is about service. The service of this fine ship, those who designed and built her, those who will support her throughout her lifetime and the Sailors and officers who will make it realize its full combat capability.”
“It is the totality of this idea of service, that together, we as Americans and your Navy make the United States Navy ready to fight and win,” Davidson said.
The Freedom-variant USS Detroit (LCS 7) is the sixth U.S. ship to be named for the city of Detroit, following predecessors USS Detroit (1813), USS Detroit (1869), USS Detroit (C-10), USS Detroit (CL-8) and USS Detroit (AOE-4).
The new 378-foot Detroit was constructed at Marinette Marine Corporation, Marinette, Wis. A fast, agile and high-technology surface combatant, Detroit, like the other ships in her class, will serve as a platform for launch and recovery of manned and unmanned vehicles.
The LCS can swap out mission packages adapting as the tactical situation demands. These ships feature advanced networking capability to share tactical information with other Navy aircraft, ships, submarines and joint units.
Detroit's modular design will support interchangeable mission packages, allowing the ship to be reconfigured for antisubmarine warfare, mine warfare or surface warfare missions on an as-needed basis.