Navy to Christen Littoral Combat Ship Indianapolis
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy will christen its newest Freedom-variant littoral combat ship, Indianapolis (LCS 17), during an April 14 ceremony in Marinette, Wisconsin.
The future USS Indianapolis, honors Indiana’s state capital. It will be the fourth ship to bear the name.
The principal speaker will be former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana. Jill Donnelly, wife of U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., will serve as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she will christen the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.
“The future USS Indianapolis honors more than a city, it pays tribute to the legacy of those who served during the final days of World War II on board USS Indianapolis (CA 35),” said Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer. “This ship will continue the proud legacy of service embodied in the name Indianapolis and is a testament to the true partnership between the Navy and industry.”
LCS 17 is the fourth ship to carry the name of Indiana’s capital city. The most recent Indianapolis was a Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine, commissioned Jan. 5, 1980, which served through the end of the Cold War before being decommissioned in 1998.
It is the second Indianapolis — a cruiser — that is perhaps the best known of the ships. It was sunk in the final days of World War II, and its crew spent several days in the water awaiting rescue. Only 316 out of a crew of nearly 1,200 survived. The ship and its crew served throughout the war, seeing action in the Aleutians, the Gilbert Islands, Saipan, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. In addition to frequently serving as the flagship of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, the ship earned 10 battle stars for World War II service and successfully completed a top-secret mission delivering components for the atomic bomb that was dropped in Hiroshima, Japan, helping to end the war.
Two survivors of the CA 35 crew, Richard Thelen and Art Leenerman, are scheduled to attend the christening ceremony on behalf of their shipmates.
The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered hulls). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).