On July 18, 2015, the new U.S.S. Little Rock (LCS9) was christened and officially launched in a ceremony in Marinette, Wisconsin.
Among those in attendance at the ceremony were Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola and US Senator John Boozman. Then-Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who served on the original U.S.S. Little Rock during the Vietnam War, was also present at the ceremony.
The U.S.S. Little Rock will be the nation’s ninth littoral combat ship. It has been built for the U.S. Navy by Lockheed Martin and Marinette Marine Corporation (MMC) at the MMC shipyard in Marinette, Wisconsin.
The christening ceremony celebrated the ship’s physical transition from land to sea. The ceremony was a symbolic transition from a hull number to a ship with a name and spirit of its own.
Following Janee Bonner’s shattering of the champagne bottle on the hull, the U.S.S. Little Rock was side launched into the Menominee River. A side launch is unique, because the ship enters the water broadside. It is mostly used on inland waters, rivers and lakes. To see the side launch, view the video here.
In December 2017, the ship was commissioned in Buffalo, New York. Situated next to the original USS Little Rock (now docked in Buffalo as a museum), it was the first time a ship was commissioned adjacent to a former ship bearing the same name.