Galveston, TX - Congresswoman Kay Granger (TX-12) joined the U.S. Navy to commission the USS Fort Worth, the third littoral combat ship (LCS-3), at a ceremony today in Galveston, Texas. Granger is the ship sponsor. Thousands of people attended the event, including large crowds from Fort Worth. The ship was officially named at a Christening ceremony in 2010 following a grassroots campaign led by Granger and the entire community to name the ship after the North Texas city founded by our nation’s military.
“Serving as the sponsor of such as powerful ship is one of the proudest moments in my time in public service,” said Granger. “As the entire Fort Worth community knows, this is just the beginning of a commitment to all those who will sail on the ship over the course of her life. We have pledged to take great care of this magnificent ship and her crew. With ‘Grit and Tenacity’ we will once again demonstrate our principles of service and patriotism.”
The commissioning took place on Pier 21 in Galveston. The USS Fort Worth Commissioning Committee provided bus transportation to help Fort Worth residents make the trip to Galveston for the ceremony. A watch party was also hosted in downtown Fort Worth’s Sundance Square where the event was broadcasted live. The committee plans to further honor its new ship’s crew at a Texas Rangers baseball game on September 24th.
The USS Fort Worth is the newest vessel in the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship program. The program began in 2002 with a goal of building a new type of stealth support ship. The $400 million ship is considered to be the first of its kind. At 390 feet long, it has the ability to travel at more than 40 knots, making it smaller and more agile than older warships. The ship can efficiently operate under a crew of 40 compared to its predecessors, which carried more than 200 crew members. The vessel’s coat of arms features the Texas Flag, a Texas longhorn, and its designated motto, “Grit and Tenacity.”
The ship will eventually make its way to its new homeport of San Diego, California.
The Navy requires a ship’s name to represent a place with character, spirit and service. Fort Worth has a long-standing military history, including the establishment of the original Camp Worth on the banks of the Trinity River in 1849, a Camp Bowie army facility during World War I, and a WWII bomber plant that now belongs to Lockheed Martin. The Fort Worth metropolitan area is also home to the Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base.
On April 19, 2006, Granger sent a letter to then-Secretary of the Navy David Winter and Admiral Michael Mullen, then-Chief of Naval Operations, requesting that the third LCS ship be named after the city of Fort Worth. This marked the beginning of an effort that brought together the entire city of Fort Worth.
In May of that year, Granger spoke at the Fort Worth Rotary and announced that she had requested that one of their new LCS ships be named in honor of the city. It was at that Rotary meeting where Granger formally asked the Rotary Club to join in a letter-writing campaign to Secretary Winter laying out the many reasons why Fort Worth was a worthy name for the ship.
The same day, Granger reached out to the public through a press conference, and a community-wide effort began. The City of Fort Worth printed postcards for citizens to fill out and mail to the Secretary of the Navy showing their support for the ship’s name. Granger subsequently formed a ship-naming committee made up of community leaders who came together to assist in organizing the grassroots effort.
School children sent pictures of how they envisioned the USS Fort Worth would look to Secretary Winter, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram wrote editorials of support, and former Mayor Mike Moncrief and the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce sent letters to Secretary Winter.
In total, 34 letters of support were mailed from elected officials and community organizations. Twenty-one resolutions from local cities in Tarrant County passed and over 50,000 postcards were mailed to the Secretary of the Navy from citizens. After two years of the community’s grassroots efforts, Secretary Winter called Congresswoman Granger to notify her of the Navy’s decision to name the third LCS ship after Fort Worth and to ask her to serve as the ship’s sponsor.
The official christening of the USS Fort Worth took place on December 4, 2010 in Marinette, WI.