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Navy to commission combat ship Tulsa on Saturday in San Francisco

By Allen Cone
Navy to commission combat ship Tulsa on Saturday in San Francisco
The future USS Tulsa undergoes acceptance trials on April 30. The Navy plans to commission the combat ship Saturday in San Francisco. Photo courtesy Austal USA/U.S. Navy

Feb. 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy plans to commission the future USS Tulsa, its latest Independence-variant littoral combat ship, Saturday morning in San Francisco.

The future USS Tulsa, or LCS 16, is the second naval vessel to honor Oklahoma's second-largest city. An Asheville-class gunboat designated as PG-22 served from 1923 to 1944 and earned two battle stars during World War II, before being renamed Tacloban.

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"This ship is named in honor of Tulsa, Oklahoma, but represents more than one city," Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer said in a statement. "USS Tulsa represents an investment in readiness and lethality, and is a testament to the increased capabilities made possible by a true partnership between the Department of the Navy and our industrial base."

To make it distinctly an homage to Tulsa, a sign for the "Route 66 Diner" is in the mess hall, KOTV reported.

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One of Oklahoma's senators, James Lankford, will deliver the commissioning ceremony's principal address at Embarcadero Pier. Ship sponsor Kathy Taylor, a former mayor of Tulsa, is the ship's sponsor.

The ceremony, using hashtag #USSTulsa, can be viewed on the Navy Live blog at http://navylive.dodlive.mil at 1 p.m. EST.

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Independence and Freedom are two variants of the LCS ships. Austal USA builds the Independence ships in Mobile, Ala., with General Dynamics. Lockheed Martin constructs the Freedom ships in Marinette, Wis.

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The ceremonial laying of the Tulsa's keel was held at the Austal USA shipyards in 2016. By that point, it was 60 percent complete because it was built in modules, the Tulsa World reported. It was christened on Feb. 17, 2017, and launched on March 16, 2017.

The Tulsa's home port will be in San Diego with the USS Freedom, USS Independence, USS Fort Worth, USS Coronado, USS Jackson, USS Montgomery, USS Gabrielle Giffords, USS Omaha and USS Manchester.

Cmdr. Drew A. Borovies, the commanding officer of the Tulsa, leads a crew of 70 officers and enlisted personnel.

The Tulsa is the 15th littoral combat ship to enter the fleet, including eight in the Independence variant.

The combat ships are designed to support focused mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare missions.

The ship is 3,200 tons and 421 feet long, according to the Navy.

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