USS Sioux City arrives in Annapolis: 4 things to know

By November 16, 2018LCS Program News

Originally published in the Capital Gazette
November 13th, 2018
By Rachael Pacella and Joshua McKerrow
Contact Reporters, rpachella@capgaznews.com, jmckerrow@capgaznews.com

 

An 8 million-pound warship arrived in Annapolis today, just in time for a big party in its honor.

The USS Sioux City, a combat ship designed to fight close to shore, was escorted up the Severn River, where it docked about 7:30 a.m. at the Naval Academy. The arrival was delayed a few days from the original date by weather.

The ship cruised upriver toward the Naval Academy bridge, turned 180 degrees and then was escorted to its berth by two tugboats and a small flotilla of police and Naval Academy vessels.

Maryland Natural Resources Police divers cleared the waterway just before its arrival, and seaman aboard the ship and dockside shouted in unison as they worked massive hawsers to tie up.

“Heave!”

Sioux City arrived in local waters for a huge moment in the life of a warship — the commissioning ceremony. Annapolis is standing in for the landlocked city in Iowa.

Organizers have heralded the event as a patriotic occasion that will deepen Annapolis’ legacy as a maritime city.

The commissioning itself — when the crew will man the ship and bring it to ‘life’ — is 9 a.m. Saturday at Dewey Field at the Naval Academy.

Tickets are sold out for the event, but public tours will be available throughout the week to give the public from Annapolis and beyond a closer look at one of the Navy’s newest warships.

Here are a few things to know heading into the week.

How can I see the ship?

The Sioux City arrived at the seawall off Dewey Field today, completing its trip from Marinette, Wisconsin. There are public tours throughout the week. Tours are scheduled 1-3 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.

The commissioning happens at 9 a.m. Saturday, but tickets are sold out.

A list of the week’s event’s can be found at www.usssiouxcitylcs11.org.

What is a littoral combat ship?

The Sioux City is a Freedom-class littoral combat ship, costing about $362 million.

Littoral combat ships are highly maneuverable, reconfigurable and fast, according to the Navy. The ships use jet propulsion and interchangeable mission packages for surface warfare, mine counter measures or anti-submarine warfare.

The ship is 378-feet long with a beam of 57.4 feet. Its 13.8-foot draft is what makes a commissioning at the Naval Academy possible. The main channel of the river is 20-25 feet deep.

Its top speed is 45 knots — the fastest surface combatant in the fleet, according to the commissioning committee.

The ship’s four waterjets can pump more than 1.9 million gallons of water a minute, which is enough to fill an Olympic-sized pool in 20 seconds, according to the committee.

Graybeal said the ship should be deployed in the Atlantic or the Mediterranean after commissioning. In April, the U.S. Naval Institute reported on delays in the deployments of Freedom class ships.

Why is it called the Sioux City?

This ship will be the first named for the people of Sioux City, Iowa.

So why is it being commissioned in Annapolis? Well, Iowa is land-locked. Annapolis isn’t.

The ship’s unique shallow draft made a commissioning at the Naval Academy on the Severn River possible, organizers said. And while there have been a number of vessels — most recently a Los Angeles-class submarine — named for the Navy town, this is the first time a full-fledged war vessel has been commissioned pier-side in the city, Graybeal said.

Graybeal said the Sioux City’s commissioning in Annapolis is an amazing contribution to the city’s maritime history of Annapolis.

More than a ship

It isn’t just the ship that is in town. The crew is here too. Graybeal said crew members will be wearing red wristbands, and he encourages Annapolitans to greet the shipmates when they see them around town.

Lt. j.g. Karrington Lewis, a naval academy Class of 2015 graduate, took the occasion to meet with his former sponsor family Monday afternoon. A member of the ship’s gold crew — crews rotate on and off the ship — he is proud the commissioning is being held at the Naval Academy, and happy to be reunited with the sponsors.

“It’s a lot of pride,” he said.

 

https://www.capitalgazette.com/news/ac-cn-sioux-city-lcs-1113-story.html