EagleHerald Staff Writer

MARINETTE—The USS Marinette, the 25th ship in the Littoral Combat Ship class, was christened Saturday at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) shipyard.

USS Marinette was launched Oct. 31, 2020 in a small event because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Saturday’s christening ceremony properly honored the ship, its namesake and the workers whose efforts went into its construction.

The christening of this ship in particular was meaningful for the community, given that its namesake is the City of Marinette. Former Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis) led a community-wide effort beginning in 2011 advocating for the naming of the ship after the community. Former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced in September 2016 that LCS 25 would be named USS Marinette to honor the city where it was built. USS Marinette is the second ship named after the city; the first one (YTB-791), a Natick-class large fleet tugboat, launched in 1967 and performed tugging services in the 5th Naval District, headquartered at Norfolk, Virginia.

Marinette Mayor Steve Gensiot, among other speakers including Under Secretary of the Navy Meredith Berger will be the principal speaker at the ceremony. President and Chief Executive Officer of Fincantieri Marine Group Dario Deste, Lockheed Martin Vice President of Small Combatants and Ship Systems Steve Allen, gave a speech at the ceremony to celebrate the event. Former Governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm was the ship’s sponsor and performed the time-honored Navy tradition of breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the ship’s bow.

The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom and the Independence. Lockheed Martin leads the construction of the odd-numbered Freedom-variant hulls in Marinette while Austal USA leads the Independence variant team in Mobile, Alabama for the even-numbered ships starting from LCS 6. FMM has two more ships—LCS 29 and LCS 31—to construct before the LCS program is complete. LCS 27, USS Nantucket, was launched this past August.