The Navy has commissioned the Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship USS St. Louis (LCS-19), making it the latest LCS to join the fleet.
The ship was commissioned at a private event on Aug. 8 due to the pandemic.
“Nearly 200 years after the first ship to bear the name was launched, today we commission the seventh USS St. Louis,” Secretary of the Navy Kenneth J. Braithwaite said in a statement. “Much like that sloop of war did in 1828, LCS-19 and her crew will protect the U.S. and our interests near and abroad. Whether conducting counter-narcotic operations in the Caribbean or working to enhance interoperability with partners and allies at sea, USS St. Louis will provide maneuverability, stability and lethality in today’s era of Great Power Competition.”
Cmdr. Kevin Hagan, the commanding officer of the St. Louis, reported the ship ready for duty.
“I’m incredibly proud of the work the crew of St. Louis put in to get this ship ready to sail. I am absolutely honored to lead this crew through all of the trials required of a brand-new ship in the fleet,” said Hagan in the statement. “Their perseverance and dedication will set the foundation for our crew and for all future crews that will call USS St. Louis their home.”
This is the 22nd LCS to be delivered to the Navy and the 10th Freedom variant. It is the seventh ship to bear the name “St. Louis,” with the first being a sloop of war launched in 1828. It continues the LCS naming convention of being named after U.S. cities.
Two MH-60Rs participated in a ceremonial flyover at the commissioning. The LCS uses MH-60Rs to conduct anti-submarine and other missions.
“The littoral combat ship has proven to be an effective and adaptable platform capable of multiple missions in our area of responsibility,” said Adm. Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command, in the statement. “It has become an end-game enabler for U.S. Coast Guard law enforcement authorities who disrupt transnational criminal organizations and the smuggling of deadly narcotics. Adding the LCS to our Enhanced Counter Narcotics Operation is helping save lives.”
MAIN PHOTO: Photo from LCS-19 commissioning via U.S. Navy.