The U.S. Navy's newest littoral combat ship, the future USS Nantucket. Sarter Marine Towing photo.
The U.S. Navy's newest littoral combat ship, the future USS Nantucket. Sarter Marine Towing photo.

MARINETTE — The U.S. Navy today christened its newest littoral combat ship, the future USS Nantucket, during a ceremony in Marinette.

“The future USS Nantucket will be the third U.S. Navy ship commissioned to honor the maritime history and spirit of Nantucket,” said acting secretary of the Navy Thomas Harker. “I have no doubt the Sailors of USS Nantucket (LCS 27) will carry on the proud legacy from generations past in preserving sea lanes, countering instability, and maintaining our maritime superiority.”

Rep. Mike Gallagher, U.S. Representative for Wisconsin’s 8th District delivered remarks, and in a time-honored Navy tradition, the ship’s sponsor, Ms. Polly Spencer, broke a bottle of wine across the bow, according to a news release.

Littoral combat ships are a fast, agile, mission-focused platform designed to operate in near-shore environments, winning against 21st-century coastal threats. The platform is capable of supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence.

The littoral combat ship class consists of two variants, the Freedom-variant and the Independence-variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom-variant team is led by Lockheed Martin in Marinette, Wisconsin (for the odd-numbered hulls).

The Independence-variant team is led by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama, (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).

The first Nantucket, a Passaic class coastal monitor, commissioned on Feb. 26, 1863. Assigned to the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Nantucket participated in the attack on Confederate forts in Charleston Harbor on April 7, 1863.

Struck 51 times during the valiant yet unsuccessful assault on the vital Southern port, the single-turreted monitor was repaired at Port Royal and returned to Charleston to support Army operations on Morris Island.

The second Nantucket, a wooden light ship built in 1907 for the Lighthouse Service, was transferred to the Navy by executive order on April 11, 1917. During World War I, the ship continued its duties of warning vessels away from Nantucket Shoals and aided in guarding nearby waters against U-boats.


By Dan Plutchak

Editor and publisher of the Door County Shore Report