Two Ohioans are among the crew of the USS Cincinnati being commissioned Saturday in Gulfport, Miss.
Chief Petty Officer Kara Rush of Shaker Heights, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, tells WVXU she feels a sense of pride to be part of the crew on a newly commissioned ship.
"Commissioning a new ship is a sense of heritage within the military where you get to build a ship from the ground up," the gunner's mate says. "A part of you is going to always be with that ship."
The fact that it carries the name of a city from her home state? That's icing on the cake.
"It feels amazing, actually," she says with a laugh. "To be honest, Ohio doesn't get recognized for a lot of things, I'll be honest about that, and for an actual Navy war ship to be recognized in Ohio, that's a big honor."
Cincinnati and Cleveland have a history of disliking each other, but Rush - the Cleveland native - isn't bothered by that.
"I mean it's our sister city so anytime Ohio's recognized it's a win for all of us." She does have a message for the people of Ohio: "The Browns are going to be big this year!"
The 70-member crew's first mission is to get the ship home safely. That process begins following Saturday's commissioning ceremony. The USS Cincinnati will be stationed at Naval Base San Diego.
The USS Cincinnati is a littoral combat ship, meaning it is a "high-speed, agile, shallow draft, focused-mission surface combatant designed to conduct surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and mine countermeasures missions in the littoral region," according to Austal USA, the company that built it.
The ship was delivered to the Navy in June by Austal USA, which has a more than $4.5 billion contract to provide 19 ships. The USS Cincinnati is the 10th Independence-variant littoral combat ship and will be the 18th LCS to enter the fleet, according to the company.
As WVXU previously reported, the ship includes two LM2500 marine gas turbine engines built at GE Aviation in Evendale. "Each LM2500 engine produces over 29,500 horsepower, propelling the ship to speeds in excess of 40 knots, or 46 miles per hour," GE says.
Cincinnati council member and Navy veteran David Mann traveled to Alabama for the ship's christening ceremony in May 2018. He presented several items from the city to be enshrined aboard the ship. A key to the city, a history of previous USS Cincinnati vessels, several medallions of sentimental value, and a letter from the mayor were added to a small aluminum box that was welded to the inside of the ship's mast like a time capsule during a "mast stepping" ceremony.
Mann will be on hand again for the commissioning to present the "long glass" to the First Officer of the Watch.
This is the Navy's fifth vessel to carry the name "Cincinnati."
- USS Cincinnati (1861) was an ironclad river gunboat commissioned in 1862 that sunk twice in battle and raised each time. It was sold in 1866.
- USS Cincinnati (C-7) was a protected cruiser in service from 1894 to 1919.
- USS Cincinnati (CL-6) was a light cruiser commissioned in 1924, on patrols in the Atlantic Ocean during World War II, and scrapped in 1946.
- USS Cincinnati (SSN-693) was a Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine in service from 1978 to 1996.
- USS Queen City (Tinclad #26) commissioned in April 1863 and ultimately blown up and destroyed by Confederate forces.
(Information courtesy of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County and the City of Cincinnati.)
The commissioning ceremony is Oct. 5, 2019 at 11 a.m. EDT at the Port of Gulfport. Ohio Congressman Brad Wenstrup (R-Cincinnati), an Army Reserve Colonel, is the principal speaker. Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker is the ship's sponsor. The ship is under the command of Cmdr. Jedediah Kloppel.
The Cincinnati Museum Center and the USS Cincinnati Commissioning Foundation are offering a livestream of the 11 a.m. ceremony in the museum's Reakirt Auditorium. A pop-up exhibition is also on view featuring ship models, uniforms and information on the Navy and past USS Cincinnati vessels. Both are free.
What Is A Ship Commissioning?
The U.S. Navy offers this handy flyer explaining what will happen at Saturday's event.