MARINETTE, Wis. — At a ceremony in Wisconsin on Wednesday, the keel was laid on Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 31. So why is this a story that we are following in Northeast Ohio, you might ask?
Because once the ship is built and commissioned by the United States Navy, LCS 31 will become the USS Cleveland.
The laying of the keel marks a key milestone in the life of the future USS Cleveland (LCS 31). The ship will be built at Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin. Plans call for the christening of LCS 31 to happen sometime in 2022, with the ship to be delivered to and commissioned by the Navy in 2023. Cleveland will be the site of the commissioning ceremony for the USS Cleveland, before the ship heads south to Mayport, Florida to join Littoral Combat Ship Squadron TWO.
“We are proud to build another proven warship that allows our Navy to carry out missions around the world. All of us at Lockheed Martin, including our hardworking team in Marinette, Wisconsin, look forward to working with the U.S. Navy to continue delivering highly capable and adaptable Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ships to the fleet," said Steve Allen, Lockheed Martin Vice President of Small Combatants and Ship Systems.
Lockheed Martin describes a Littoral Combat Ship as "a resilient, flexible warship, designed from the keel up to affordably take on new capabilities including advanced sensors, missiles and cutting-edge cyber systems. Its speed, strength and versatility make it a critical tool to help sailors achieve their missions." You can learn more about the LCS below.
Among those taking part in the laying of the keel was Robyn Modly, wife of Cleveland native and former United States Secretary of Navy, Thomas Modly. Robyn Modly is the ship's sponsor, a Navy tradition given to a female civilian to bestow good luck and divine protection over the seagoing vessel.
The USS Cleveland will be the fourth commissioned ship in naval service since World War I to be named after the city of Cleveland. With the city’s deep ties to maritime service since the turn of the 20th century, LCS 31 will honor Cleveland’s longstanding naval history.
Editor's Note: The below video features a conversation with former Undersecretary and Acting Secretary of the Navy, Thomas Modly, from 2018