MAYPORT, Fla. – The USS Wichita is ready for action after the littoral combat ship was commissioned Saturday at its new home port, Naval Station Mayport.
The ship honors the citizens of Wichita, Kansas, for their longstanding support of the Navy, and U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, of Kansas, delivered the commissioning address.
The USS Wichita is the third naval vessel to honor the largest city in Kansas. While active during WWII, a different ship with the Wichita name, supported amphibious landings in 1942.
"Wichita, as you have heard, represents people of strength and patriotism, love of country, people who persevere, who demonstrate every day of hard work," Moran said.
He said the commissioning is about the future of the Navy and paying tribute to those who have sacrificed in the past.
"Many, many Kansans at home in Wichita are watching this on the big screen. The Navy is using the technology of the day to allow every American to see what’s taking place here today, and I welcome those folks to the audience," Moran said.
U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, former sheriff of Jacksonville, also spoke at the commissioning ceremony.
"As the USS Wichita sets sail to protect our freedom, I pray that God watches over her .. and give her fair winds and following seas," Rutherford said.
The new ship brings 80 new crew members with it to Mayport Naval Station.