USS Wichita

USS Wichita commissioning set for this Saturday

January 10, 2019 - 4:58 pm

USS Wichita (LCS 13) will be commissioned Jan. 12, 2019, at Naval Station Mayport, Fla., near Jacksonville, where the ship will be homeported, Navy officials have announced. USS Wichita is the 13th vessel in the Freedom class of littoral combat ships, the Navy’s fastest and most versatile warships.

The ship sailed away from the Lockheed Martin’s Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard on Tuesday bound for Jacksonville. USS Wichita passed sea trials in July and will continue training exercises during its southward journey along the Eastern Seaboard.

USS Wichita is designed to operate in shallow waters close to shore. A draft of only 13 feet enables the ship to conduct minesweeping operations, humanitarian support, anti-submarine and drug trafficking surveillance, among other missions. USS Wichita assets include a launching pad for two MH-60 Seahawk helicopters.

Crewmembers from the ship have visited Wichita three times to get to know their ship’s namesake city. A contingent of 20 Wichitans, led by Mayor Jeff Longwell, attended the ship’s sideways launching in Racine on Sept. 17, 2016.

LCS 13 is the third Navy ship to bear Wichita’s name. The first USS Wichita (CA 45), a heavy cruiser commissioned in 1939, earned 13 battle stars during World War II. The second USS Wichita (AOR 1) was a replenishment oiler commissioned in 1968. During 24 years of service, that ship’s awards included four battle stars earned in Vietnam.

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