Feb. 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy will commission the USS Charleston during a ceremony Saturday in its namesake city in South Carolina, becoming the ninth Independence-variant littoral combat ship.
Charlotte Riley, wife of former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, is the ship's sponsor. She will give the first time-honored order to "man our ship and bring her to life!"
"The commissioning of the USS Charleston is a great honor for our city, and further strengthens our deep and abiding connection to the United States Navy," Mayor John Tecklenburg told The Charleston Post and Courier.
The new LCS, which will be homeported in San Diego, will be the sixth Navy vessel to carry the name Charleston.
The first defended the coast of South Carolina during the Quasi-War with France. The second Charleston, a protected cruiser, received the surrender of Guam during the Spanish-American War. The third Charleston was a St. Louis-class protected cruiser that performed escort and troop transport duties during World War I. Another Charleston, an Erie-class patrol gunboat, earned the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one battle star in the northern Pacific during World War II. The fifth Charleston, an amphibious cargo ship, served during the Vietnam War.
"This ship will extend the maneuverability and lethality of our fleet to confront the many challenges of a complex world, from maintaining the sea lanes to countering instability to maintaining our edge against renewed great power competition," Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer said in a statement.
The future USS Charleston can perform in near-shore and open-ocean operation, and handle "anti-access" threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.
The littoral combat ship variants are Independence and Freedom.
The Independence variant, which consists of even-numbered hulls, is manufactured by Austal USA, in Mobile, Ala. Lockheed Martin produces the Freedom variant in Marinette, Wis.
The eight Independence-class ships already in service are the Independence, Coronado, Jackson, Montgomery, Gabrielle Giffords, Omaha, Manchester and Tulsa. Independence-class ships in production are Cincinnati, Kansas City, Mobile, Oakland and Canberra.
U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne of Alabama authenticated the Charleston's keel by welding his initials onto an aluminum plate for hull of the ship in June 2016.
The Charleston completed acceptance trials last August.
Christopher K. Brusca is the commanding officer of the ship and leads the core crew of 70 officers and enlisted personnel.