Navy Warship on Maiden Voyage to Annapolis for Commissioning

LCS 11 departs Wisconsin for Annapolis. Photo: Ryan Ostrenga/Facebook

A U.S. Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is on her way to Annapolis right now, to be commissioned as the USS Sioux City. It’s the maiden voyage for the ship currently known as “LCS 11,” which left last Tuesday from the Marinette, Wisconsin shipyard where she was built.

The future USS Sioux City, Cmdr. James Malone, and his crew of 75 sailors are due to arrive in a week and a half, to become the first major warship ever commissioned at the Naval Academy. What path will they take to get to Annapolis? The ship’s commissioning committee describes it here:

 LCS 11 at Welland Canal Lock 3 in Ontario. Photo: Nathan Attard
LCS 11 at Welland Canal Lock 3 in Ontario. Photo: Nathan Attard

The USS Sioux City will sail from Marinette, through Lake Michigan and Lake Huron before stopping in Detroit for fuel and supplies. It will then sail through Lake Erie, the Welland Canal and Lake Ontario and up the St. Lawrence River to Montreal, Canada, where the temporary fenders will be removed. From Montreal, it’s on to Halifax, Canada, for fuel and supplies and into the Atlantic Ocean. The ship should arrive on Nov. 7 in Norfolk, Virginia, where it will take on fuel and supplies before heading up the Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis.

So if you want to get a look at the soon-to-be-named combat ship coming up the Bay, plan accordingly.

LCS 11 has already caused a stir as she makes the trip. The ship’s Facebook page shared photos of her navigating the Welland Canal at Lock 3 in Saint Catharines, Ontario on Sunday.

Commissioning organizers also just released the schedule for the week’s grand events. LCS 11 should arrive in Annapolis on November 10, a week before the commissioning on Saturday, November 17. More than 5,000 people are expected to come to the commissioning ceremony at Dewey Field. The days leading up to the ceremony include Veterans Day events and tours for the general public.

Tickets to the ceremony are still available, but are expected to sell out. To reserve a ticket, click here.

The USS Sioux City is the 11th in the Freedom class of littoral combat ships, which are designed to operate in shallower water close to shorelines. The Freedom variant is designed and built by a team led by Lockheed Martin in the Fincantieri Marinette Marine Corporation’s shipyard. When she leaves Annapolis on November 18, she’ll head to Naval Station Mayport in Florida, her new home base.

-Meg Walburn Viviano