Thursday, June 02, 2005

Keel for U.S. Navy's First Littoral Combat Ship Laid

I don't normally blog about work, but this one's important. For nearly the last 4 years, I've had the privilege of working on the Navy's Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) design.

Today, we laid the keel for the first in the class, just 12 months after we won the final system design competition. Admiral Vern Clark, the Chief of Naval Operations, spoke at the ceremony:

"It was barely three years ago that we dared to dream of a new vision for our Navy's future," said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark. "Today that vision of American seapower will be welded into the keel of the very first Littoral Combat Ship - and that ship shall be called the United States Ship Freedom."

Now for the good part, and the reason I decided to break my normal no-blogging-about-work policy. In addition to naming new ships, the Secretary of the Navy selects the ship's sponsor. Secretary England made a wonderful choice for USS Freedom: Mrs. Birgit Smith. Mrs. Smith is the widow of Army Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Operation Iraqi Freedom.*

I cannot think of a more fitting tribute to Sergeant First Class Smith. USS Freedom will carry his memory as she lives up to his example for the next thirty years.

*Check out posts by Citizen Smash, Enlighten New Jersey and Sluggo Needs a Nap for more details on Smith's heroic action.