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UPI.com: Navy launches new ship

December 6, 2010
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MARINETTE, Wis., Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Some 60 civic and business leaders from Forth Worth, Texas, braved Wisconsin weather for the launching of the first Navy ship named for the city, they said.

The launching of the USS Fort Worth at the Marinette Marine shipyards marked the first time a military vessel will bear the city's name, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Saturday.

"I have learned just how much pride there is in our city that we have come to be a part of the United States Navy fleet," Fort Worth Mayor Mike Moncrief said.

"This ship will not only sail with the city's name, it will sail with our prayers for all those who serve our country and their families," he said.

The 389-foot-long Fort Worth is only the third of a type representing what Navy Rear Adm. David Lewis calls a "seminal shift" in building combat ships.

Designed for speed, agility and flexibility, allowing crews to change weapons and mission packages within a day, the ship can operate in water as shallow as 20 feet deep, giving the Navy an option in coastal areas that it doesn't have with its larger blue-water vessels.

Built for a reported cost of $480 million, the ship technically won't become the USS Fort Worth until it is commissioned in 2012, but was referred to by that name at the launching ceremony Saturday.

"I christen thee 'Fort Worth,' and may God bless all the men and women who sail in her," U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, R-Texas, said before swinging the traditional bottle of champagne.