DECEMBER 16, 2017 (BUFFALO, NY)
More than 8,500 people attended the Commissioning of the USS Little Rock LCS 9 braving the cold and snow on Saturday, December 16, 2017. All in attendance from veterans to dignitaries to families of the crew and active duty military, were bundled up and eagerly waiting for the USS Little Rock to finally be commissioned into US Navy.
The ceremony was the first time in the 242-year history of the Navy that a new ship was commissioned along side the decommissioned namesake. Punctuating the historic significance of the day was having members of the Little Rock Association in the audience, including former SECNAV Raymond Mabus. The USS LITTLE ROCK (LCS 9) COMMISSIONING OFFICIAL PARTY included:
MRS. JANÉE BONNER, Ship’s Sponsor
THE HONORABLE JOHN BOOZMAN, U.S. Senator, State of Arkansas
THE HONORABLE BRIAN HIGGINS, U.S. Representative, New York’s 26 th District
THE HONORABLE KATHLEEN HOCHUL, Lieutenant Governor, State of New York
VICE ADMIRAL LUKE McCOLLUM, USN, Chief of Navy Reserve
THE HONORABLE BYRON W. BROWN, Mayor, City of Buffalo
THE HONORABLE MARK STODOLA, Mayor, City of Little Rock
MS. GLORIA VALDEZ, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Ship Programs
REAR ADMIRAL JOHN NEAGLEY, USN, Program Executive Officer, Littoral Combat Ships
MR. JOSEPH DEPIETRO, Vice President, Lockheed Martin, Small Combatants and Ship Systems
MR. FRANCESCO VALENTE, President and Chief Executive Officer, Fincantieri Marine Group
MR. MAURICE L. NAYLON III, Chairman, USS LITTLE ROCK Commissioning Committee, Buffalo
THE HONORABLE TOM PRINCE, Chairman, USS LITTLE ROCK Commissioning Committee, Little Rock
CAPTAIN MICHAEL E. TAYLOR, USN, Program Manager, Littoral Combat Ships
CAPTAIN SHAWN JOHNSTON, USN, Commander, Littoral Combat Ship Squadron TWO
CAPTAIN DAVID GLASSMIRE, CHC, USN, Commissioning Chaplain
COMMANDER JOSHUA FIELDS, USN, LCS Program Manager’s Representative, Supervisor of Shipbuilding Bath Detachment Marinette
COMMANDER TODD PETERS, USN, Commanding Officer
COMMANDER LENARD MITCHELL, USN, Executive Officer
COMMAND MASTER CHIEF JOSEPH REYNOLDS, USN, Command Master Chief
Serving as master of ceremonies for the commissioning was CDR Lenard Michell, USN, executive officer. Highlights of the ceremony included:
Advance of the Colors by the Navy Junior ROTC, Western New York Maritime Charter School
National Anthem performed by the Navy Band Northeast
Invocation by Captain David Glassmire, CHC, USN
Welcome by the Honorable Kathleen Hochul
Principal address from the Honorable John Boozman.
PLACING USS LITTLE ROCK IN COMMISSION, Vice Admiral Luke McCollum, USN
ASSUMING COMMAND OF USS LITTLE ROCK, Commander Todd Peters, USN
SETTING THE FIRST WATCH – Mr. Maurice L. Naylon III passed the long glass to Ceremonial Officer of the Watch
MANNING THE SHIP AND BRINGING HER TO LIFE, Mrs. Janée Bonner
REPORTING FOR DUTY, Commander Todd Peters, USN reports to Captain Shawn Johnston, USN
BREAKING THE FLAG OF THE CHIEF OF THE NAVY RESERVE COMMANDING OFFICER REMARKS, Commander Todd Peters, USN
BENEDICTION, Captain David Glassmire, CHC, USN
As Mrs. Janée Bonner gave the command to “man the ship and bring her to life” the crew ran up gangplanks onto the USS Little Rock LCS 9 and took their positions, and at one point saluted the crowd from the ship’s rails. LCS 9’s systems sprang to life and her horn gave a deafening blast to the delight of all in attendance.
In his remarks, Commander Todd Peters complimented LCS Crew 109 Warhawgs as well as the support crew LCS Crew 115 Scorpions for their commitment and skill. He also took the time to honor veterans and members of the Little Rock Association in the audience and told them it was their turn to “rest easy, we have the watch.” CDR Peters also thanked his wife and all the families of the “Little Rockers” for their support of the crew over the many months leading up to commissioning.
You can watch a video of the full commissioning ceremony here.