The crew of the US Navy’s newest littoral combat ship, the USS Charleston (LCS 18), ran aboard their ship and brought it to life in a March 2 ceremony at the Columbus Street Terminal in the ship’s namesake city.
LCS-18 is the 16th littoral combat ship to enter the fleet and the ninth of the Independence variant. The ship is the sixth to be named after Charleston, South Carolina, to honor a long history, from the decades of work at the Charleston Naval Shipyard to Charleston Marine Container, Inc., building mission modules for the littoral combat ship program today.
USS Charleston entered service two weeks after sister ship USS Tulsa (LCS 16) was commissioned as the Navy’s newest surface combatant in a ceremony in San Francisco on February 16.
Charleston Mayor John T. Tecklenburg welcomed the audience to the commissioning of what he identified as a symbol of the city of Charleston. Tecklenburg added that since the founding of Charleston almost 350 years ago, the sea has been part of the Holy’s City’s economy and culture.
“The sea is history,” said Tecklenburg. “Nowhere will you find a people who understand those words more fully than the people of Charleston.”
In honoring the state of its namesake city, LCS-18 adopted South Carolina’s motto – As I Breathe, I Hope – and made it its own adding a combative twist – As We Breathe, We Fight!
After the ceremony, the ship will transit to join Littoral Combat Ship Squadron 1 and 10 other littoral combat ships currently homeported at Naval Base San Diego.