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USS Manchester to be commissioned in May

U.S.S. Manchester (US Navy)

Portsmouth will host the commissioning of the future USS Manchester (LCS14) over Memorial Day weekend, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen announced Thursday.

As the official sponsor of the Littoral Combat Ship named for the Queen City, Shaheen is a permanent, honorary member of the crew and her initials are welded into the ship’s hull.

Thursday, Shaheen joined Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig, Commander Emily Bassett, USS Manchester Community Commissioning Committee Chairman Porter Davis, and Millyard Museum Director John Clayton at the Millyard Museum to announce the USS Manchester (LCS 14) will be commissioned May 26 at 10 a.m. at the New Hampshire State Pier in Portsmouth. The last vessel commissioned in Portsmouth was the USS New Hampshire submarine in 2008.

“This ceremony has been many years in the making and I’m thrilled that this historic event will take place in our state,” said Shaheen. “The future USS Manchester pays great tribute to the Queen City’s storied history and New Hampshire’s long history of supporting our national defense.”

“The future USS Manchester is a modern marvel and an example of the increased capability that comes from a true partnership with the American industry,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “The ship honors the city of Manchester and the patriotic citizens of New Hampshire for their support to our military, and I cannot wait to see the amazing things the crew will accomplish.”

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Craig tweeted, “We are honored to have the ship carry the name of our city as she makes our Navy, and our nation, stronger.”

Commander Emily Bassett will command the future USS Manchester.

The USS Manchester is part of the Independence class of Littoral Combat Ships. Littoral Combat Ships are designed to face asymmetric threats in shallow areas off coastlines and primarily perform surface warfare, antisubmarine warfare and mine countermeasures.

A commissioning ceremony marks the acceptance of a ship into the operating forces of the Navy. At the moment of breaking the commissioning pennant next year, the crew will ceremonially run aboard the vessel. As soon as the commissioning pennant is broken at the masthead, the ship becomes a Navy command and takes her place with the other active ships of the fleet. The ship is then officially referred to as a United States Ship (USS).

This is the second ship in the U.S. Navy to be named after the Queen City. The first USS Manchester, a light cruiser that saw action during the Korean War, was commissioned in 1946 and operated primarily in the Pacific. It served three combat tours and earned nine battle stars before it was decommissioned in 1956. On her last tour, the USS Manchester participated in Operation “Glory” to return to Hawaii 50 unidentified American dead from the Korean War.

The new ship displaces 210 tons and requires a crew of 43 to sail — 11 officers and 32 enlisted. The original USS Manchester displaced nearly 12,000 tons and required a crew of 1,255.

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© 2018 The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.