The USS Fort Lauderdale will be making history on Saturday, July 30 when it is commissioned as the first transport Navy ship named after the city.
On Thursday, preparations for the weekend ceremony were underway at Port Everglades where the ship docked earlier this week.
“The commissioning of USS Fort Lauderdale is the result of many years of coordination and hard work by our lawmakers, commissioning committee, civic leaders, contractors, industry specialists, and especially our sailors,”said the ship's commanding officer, Captain James Quaresimo. “I couldn’t be prouder of the uniformed men and women who gave a mountain of cold steel form and a heartbeat. And in turn they should be proud of what they’ve done.”
The Captain said that engineers designed the $1.8 billion transport dock ship as a warship which will embark, transport and land elements for different warfare missions.
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Built by Ingalls Shipbuilding of Pascagoula, Mississippi, the ship’s naming was in large part the brainchild of the late retired Senior Chief Petty Officer Charles "Chuck" Black, who led a years-long effort to get the U.S. Navy to name a ship “USS Fort Lauderdale.”
Black, who served on the Navy League's national board of directors, died in 2016, the same year the naming was confirmed.
“Commissioning of the future USS Fort Lauderdale is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring South Floridians together to celebrate and salute a powerful bond between the U.S. Navy and the City of Fort Lauderdale,” said Patricia Du Mont, who is the chair of the ship's Commissioning Committee. “We’re organizing meaningful events leading up to the Commissioning on July 30, and we plan to continue to support the ship and its crew as it goes into service with the U.S. Navy.”
Following Saturday's ceremony, the ship will head to its home base in Norfolk, Virginia.