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Navy to christen future USS Nantucket on Saturday

The U.S. Navy's newest littoral combat ship, the future USS Nantucket, will be christened on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Fincantrieri Marinette Marine
The U.S. Navy's newest littoral combat ship, the future USS Nantucket, will be christened on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Fincantrieri Marinette Marine

Aug. 6 (UPI) -- The future USS Nantucket, the U.S. Navy's 27th littoral combat ship, will be ceremonially christened on Saturday, the Defense Department announced on Friday.

The ceremony welcoming the third ship in Navy history to carry the name will be conducted at Marinette, Wis., where it was built by Fincantieri Marinette Marine.

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Ship's sponsor Polly Spencer will break a bottle of sparkling wine over the ship's bow, and Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., is scheduled to be the keynote speaker.

The future USS Nantucket will be the Navy's 14th Freedom-class littoral combat ship, designed to operate in near-shore environments yet capable of fast movement on open seas.

The steel monohulled Freedom ships, 387.6 feet long, are homeported at Naval Station Mayport, Fla., and differ in design from the catamaran-inspired Independence class.

The new ship's name was chosen to "honor the maritime history and heritage of the people of Nantucket," an island near Cape Cod, Mass., Navy spokesman Lt. Joshua Kelsey said.

Nantucket Harbormaster Sheila Lucey, who will attend Saturday's event, said the ship will visit the namesake island in 2022 but most likely will stay at sea because the ship's draft is too deep to safely make it into the harbor.

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Littoral combat ships first entered Navy service in 2008. Four of the 27 built have been decommissioned.

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