December 17, 2015 - The Navy will christen its newest Independence-variant littoral combat ship, USS Omaha (LCS 12), during a 10 a.m. CST ceremony Saturday, Dec. 19 in Mobile, Alabama.
Omaha, designated LCS 12, honors the city of Omaha, Nebraska.
The Honorable Ray Mabus, secretary of the Navy, will serve as principal speaker. Susie Buffett, an Omaha philanthropist and daughter of Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., will serve as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she will give the order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”
"More than 4,000 American craftsmen have made this ship possible, craftsmen from Mobile and all around the country, making components of the ship and its systems,” said Mabus. “That partnership between our uniformed men and women, our Navy civilians, industry, and the American people, is one of the great strengths of our system. Bearing the name Omaha, this ship will represent the American spirit of hard work and patriotism that is ingrained in that community. The future USS Omaha will carry these values, and this spirit, around the world.”
LCS 12 will be the fourth U.S. Navy ship named for the largest city in Nebraska. The first was a screw sloop commissioned Sept. 12, 1872. After nearly 20 years in commission, the ship was transferred to the Marine Hospital Service and served as a quarantine ship for infectious diseases in San Francisco until being stricken in July 1914. The second Omaha was a light cruiser commissioned Feb. 23, 1923. She made a number of peacetime cruises in the Atlantic prior to World War II. On Nov. 6, 1941, while on neutrality patrol with USS Somers (DD 381) in the mid-Atlantic near the Equator, Omaha sighted a vessel which aroused much suspicion by her actions. Refusing to satisfactorily identify herself, and taking evasive actions, the stranger was ordered to heave to. She flew the American flag and carried the name Willmoto of Philadelphia on her stern. As Omaha's crew dispatched a boarding party, the freighter's crew took to life boats and hoisted a signal which indicated that the ship was sinking. When the Omaha party pulled alongside, they could hear explosions from within the hull, while one of the fleeing crewmen shouted, "This is a German ship and she is sinking." In short order the men of the Omaha, in spite of extreme dangers, had salvaged the vessel, rendered her safe and had her underway for Puerto Rico. The freighter, as it turned out, was the German ship Odenwald, and her capture was one of the great dramas of American seamanship. Omaha was decommissioned Oct. 17, 1945. The third Omaha was a Los Angeles class fast attack submarine which was commissioned March 11, 1978, serving 17 years, then decommissioned on Oct. 5, 1995.
The LCS class consists of two variants, the Freedom variant and the Independence variant - designed and built by two industry teams. The Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin (for the odd-numbered hulls, e.g. LCS 1). The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA (for LCS 6 and the subsequent even-numbered hulls) and was originally led by General Dynamics, Bath Iron Works (LCS 2 and LCS 4).
The LCS seaframes will be outfitted with reconfigurable payloads, called mission modules (made up of mission systems and support equipment), which can be changed quickly. These modules combine with crew detachments and aviation assets to become complete mission packages, which will deploy manned and unmanned vehicles and sensors in support of mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare, or surface warfare missions.