ARLINGTON, Va., and MOBILE, Ala.— The U.S. Navy christened its newest Independence-variant littoral combat ship (LCS), the future USS Oakland (LCS 24), during a June 29 ceremony in Mobile, Alabama, the ship’s builder, Austal USA, said in a release of the same date.
U.S. Rep. Ken Calvert of California delivered the christening ceremony’s principal address. Kate Brandt, Google’s sustainability officer, served as the ship’s sponsor.
“The christening of the future USS Oakland marks an important step toward this great ship’s entry into the fleet,” said Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer in a June 26 Navy Office of Information release. “The dedication and skilled work of our industry partners ensure this ship will represent the great city of Oakland and serve our Navy and Marine Corps team for decades to come.”
“I’m proud to represent Austal’s amazing workforce today as we commemorate a significant milestone in the life of this amazing warship,” said Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle. “Our talented shipbuilding team is proud to provide our Navy with an extraordinarily capable vessel that will honor the great city of Oakland as she becomes an integral part of the U.S. naval fleet protecting our nation.”
The ship’s sponsor, Kate Brandt, a recipient of the Distinguished Public Service Award, the highest award the U.S. Navy can give to a civilian, headlined the group of officials, naval guests, civic leaders, community members and Austal USA employees who attended the ceremony beneath the hull of the ship in Austal USA’s final assembly bay.
“We are honored to host Ms. Brandt as the ship’s sponsor,” continued Perciavalle. “Her time spent serving our country through her work for the government, specifically the Navy, and her dedication to green initiatives protecting the environment make her a clear choice as the sponsor of Oakland.”
As Google’s sustainability officer, Brandt leads sustainability across Google’s worldwide operations, products and supply chain. Previously Brandt served as the nation’s first chief sustainability officer, where she was responsible for promoting sustainability across federal government operations including 360,000 buildings, 650,000 vehicles, and $445 billion annually in purchased goods and services. Brandt’s prior government service also includes senior adviser at the Department of Energy, director for Energy and Environment in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel, and energy adviser to the Secretary of the Navy.
A Gates Cambridge Scholar who graduated with honors from Brown University, Brandt currently serves on the boards of The Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, The Roosevelt Institute, Planet Forward, and the Stanford International Affairs Network.
The future USS Oakland is a fast, agile, focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric “anti-access” threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft. The ship will be homeported in San Diego.
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 in Marinette, Wisconsin (for the odd-numbered hulls). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama (for LCS 6 and subsequent even-numbered hulls).
The future USS Oakland is the third U.S. Navy ship named for the city in California. The first Oakland (2847) was commissioned in 1918 and used for cargo transport. The second, CL 95, was commissioned in 1942, and during seven years of service, it played a key role in many antiaircraft missions across the Asia-Pacific theater of operations.
Oakland is the 12th of 19 Independence-variant littoral combat ships Austal USA has under contract with the U.S. Navy. In addition to being in full-rate production for the LCS program, Austal USA is also the Navy’s prime contractor for the Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) program. Austal has delivered 10 EPF, with a total of 14 under contract.