BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — More than 8,500 people witnessed history Saturday at Canalside.
The Navy’s newest warship was commissioned next to its namesake, USS Little Rock. It’s the first ship commissioned in the City of Buffalo and the first time in the Navy’s 242 year history that a new Navy warship was commissioned alongside its predecessor.
“This commission is the culmination of craftsmanship of ship builders and artisans and an incredible milestone for the crew, and I’ll say for the crew, hard work and full realization that this day has actually come,” said Vice Admiral Luke McCollum, Chief of Navy Reserve.
The new high-tech cruiser is the second Navy warship to bear the name of the City of Little Rock. The original ship was commissioned in 1944 prior to the end of World War II.
After orders to hoist the colors and the commission pennant, the ship was brought to life.
More than 50 sailors will man the ship as the core crew. A moment they have anticipated for almost three years.
Commander Todd Peters is the commanding officer of the ship.
“I’ve been a sailor all my life and I have been fortunate to serve in six different ships, I have loved them all, but none of them more so than this one. I can assure you Little Rock sailors are truly great, as a matter of fact they are the very best I have known in more than 27 years in uniform,” said Commander Peters.
USS Little Rock is expected to deploy to the high seas later next year.
As former Little Rock sailors salute the new Little Rock sailors, watch is set and the ship is ready for duty.
“Rest easy knowing we have the watch. We would like to send a message to the entire world, friend and foe alike, USS Little Rock call sign vengeance is back,” said Commander Peters.
The new commissioned ship will set sail later this week and will dock at its home port in Mayport, Florida.