The US Navy christened the ninth Independence-variant and the newest littoral combat ship (LCS) USS Charleston (LCS 18), on Saturday, August 26, in Mobile, Alabama.
The USS Charleston, designated LCS 18, honors Charleston, the second-largest city in South Carolina. She is the sixth ship to be named for Charleston.
The new secretary of the navy Richard V. Spencer delivered the ceremony’s principal address. Charlotte Riley, the wife of 10-term, former Mayor of Charleston Joe Riley, served as the ship’s sponsor.
“I am honored to be here as we christen the newest LCS, the future USS Charleston,” said Spencer, secretary of the navy. “Charleston, like the other ships in the LCS program, is going to be highly maneuverable, able to operate where other ships cannot, and will project power through forward presence.”
The name Charleston has a long history in the U.S. Navy. The first navy ship to bear the name Charleston was a row galley that defended the coast of South Carolina during the Quasi-War with France. The second Charleston (C-2) was a protected cruiser that received the surrender of Guam during the Spanish-American War. The third Charleston (C-22) was a St. Louis-class protected cruiser that performed escort and troop transport duties in World War I. The ship named Charleston (PG-51) was an Erie-class patrol gunboat that earned the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one battle star for her service in the northern Pacific during World War II. The fifth Charleston (AKA-113/LKA-113) was an amphibious cargo ship that served during the Vietnam War.
The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered hulls, e.g. LCS 1). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls).