The U.S. Navy will commission its newest Freedom variant littoral combat ship, the future USS Indianapolis (LCS 17), during a ceremony in Burns Harbor, Indiana on Oct. 26.
The commissioning ceremony signifies the acceptance for service and the entrance of a ship into the active fleet of the U. S. Navy. Burns Harbor is on the shores of Lake Michigan in Northwest Indiana and is 160 miles north of Indianapolis.
Mrs. Jill Donnelly, the wife of former Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, is the ship’s sponsor. As the sponsor, Mrs. Donnelly leads the time-honored Navy tradition of giving the order during the ceremony to “man our ship and bring her to life!” At that moment, the commissioning pennant is hoisted and Indianapolis becomes a proud ship of the fleet.
Columbus, Ohio native Cmdr. Colin Kane is the ship’s commanding officer.
“The future USS Indianapolis honors more than a city, it pays tribute to the legacy of those who served during the final days of World War II on board USS Indianapolis (CA-35),” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer at the ship’s christening ceremony. “This ship will continue the proud legacy of service embodied in the name Indianapolis, and is a testament to the true partnership between the Navy and industry.”
LCS-17 is the fourth ship to carry the name of Indiana’s capital city. The first Indianapolis was a steamer built for the U.S. Shipping Board (USSB) and commissioned directly into the Navy in 1918. After two runs to Europe, the ship was returned to the USSB following the war.
The saga of the second Indianapolis (CA 35), a cruiser, and its crew is well documented by the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC). The loss of the ship was a tragic moment following the completion of a secret mission that directly contributed to the end of World War II. After a successful high-speed run to deliver atomic bomb components to Tinian, the decorated Portland-class cruiser continued to Guam. Indianapolis was en route from Guam to Leyte when she was torpedoed and sunk by the Japanese submarine I-58, July 30, 1945. The ship’s wreckage was located Aug. 19, 2017. Survivors of cruiser met with the crew of the future Indianapolis to screen a documentary about the discovery of the lost ship, earlier this year.
The most recent Indianapolis was a Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine, which was commissioned Jan. 5, 1980 and served through the end of the Cold War before being decommissioned in 1998.
LCS is a highly maneuverable, lethal and adaptable ship designed to support focused mine countermeasures, anti-submarine warfare and surface warfare missions. The LCS class consists of two variants: the Freedom variant and the Independence variant. Indianapolis is a Freedom variant.
The future Indianapolis will be homeported in Naval Station Mayport upon her commissioning.