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Navy to commission future USS Wichita on Saturday

By
Sam Howard
The future USS Wichita, shown here, will be commissioned into service this weekend. File Photo courtesy Lockheed Martin
The future USS Wichita, shown here, will be commissioned into service this weekend. File Photo courtesy Lockheed Martin

Jan. 10 (UPI) -- The Navy will commission the future USS Wichita, the branch's 13th littoral combat ship, on Saturday morning at Naval Station Mayport in Florida.

The ceremony to mark the latest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship's entry into active service will be held at 10 a.m., the Navy said in a news release Wednesday.

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Kate Lehrer, an author and wife of news anchor Jim Lehrer, is the ship's sponsor, and U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, will deliver the principal address for the commissioning.

The ceremony will be streamed by the Navy on it's Navy Live blog.

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The Navy envisions the future USS Wichita (LCS 13) as a vessel that will operate in both near-shore and open-ocean situations. It said the ship's modular design will help it combat "anti-access" threats that include mines, submarines and surface vessels.

It will be the third vessel named after Wichita, the first being a heavy cruiser during the World War II era and the second an oiler that made three deployments during its years of operation from 1969 to 1993, the Navy said.

The vessel completed its acceptance trials in Michigan this July and was delivered to the Navy in August.

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"This ship honors the citizens of Wichita, Kansas, for their longstanding support of the Navy and Marine Corps team and I am confident USS Wichita and crew will make our Navy and nation stronger," Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer said in a statement.

The USS Wichita will be the seventh Freedom-class littoral combat ship. Vessels in the class include an Mk 110 57mm gun, two Bushmaster 30mm cannons and RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missiles.

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