Marinette, WI -Congresswoman Kay Granger today christened the third littoral combat ship (LCS-3) the USS Fort Worth at a ceremony in Marinette, Wisconsin. The Christening comes after Congresswoman Granger and the entire community of Fort Worth joined together in an effort to name the ship in honor of the North Texas community’s long military heritage.
“Serving as the USS Fort Worth’s sponsor is one of the proudest moments in my career”, said Granger. “This is just the beginning of a commitment I am making with everyone in Fort Worth to all those who will sail on the ship over the course of her life. The enthusiastic residents of our fine city and I have pledged to take great care of this magnificent ship and her crew. With ‘Grit and Tenacity’ we will once again demonstrate our community’s key principles of service and patriotism.”
“Fort Worth may be removed from the shoreline by more than a few miles, but our connections with the Navy and all of our military partners remain close to our hearts,” Mayor Moncrief said. “As a city that treasures its military heritage, we are thrilled and honored with the naming of this new ship.”
“It is an incredibly rewarding experience to see Fort Worth launch into the water – on time and on budget,” said Orlando Carvalho, president of Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems and Sensors business. “The team’s strong performance and hard work in bringing Fort Worth to this point illustrates our ability to meet the Navy’s need for a class of affordable, multi-mission combatants.”
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 post cards 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 Mayor 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 tenacity from the residents of Fort Worth, 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 naming of the ship means that the crew and the community will have a long-standing relationship, including invitations to events in the city and maintaining correspondence through letters, e-mails and packages.
After the Christening, the USS Fort Worth will complete her fitting out and then undergo a range of sea trials before she is formally accepted into the Navy Fleet after her scheduled Commissioning in 2012.