Work on the Littoral Combat Ship, U.S.S. Sioux City, is nearly complete. The ship, which was little more than a metal keel a year ago, is set to be christened in December. Tuesday night, the ship's crew paid a surprise visit to Sioux City to help put on the finishing touches.
Republican strategist Karl Rove has counseled presidents, governors, and congressmen. Tuesday night, he preferred the company of America's military men and women. Members of the crew of the USS Sioux City were surprise guests at the Siouxland Chamber dinner. "We're really, really excited," said Commander Kevin Ralston, USS Sioux City. "It means a lot."
Tuesday night, Commander Kevin Ralston, and eleven other Sioux City crew members, took the stage of the Convention Center to a standing ovation to unveil the crest the the ship will bear. It features a tri-colored shield, which represents the tri-state area. There are also several local landmarks. Like the Floyd Monument, which runs right though the middle of the crest. There's the Sioux chief that adorns he Badgerow Building. It's at the center of the crest. And, at the top, the compass rose to represent the Lewis and Clark expedition.
The Sioux City launches in December. "We're training right now," said Ralston. "We're trying to get ready to do the best job that we can to prepare to make the ship a success."
Work on the USS Sioux City began in 2014 with the keel-laying, at Marinette Marine in northeastern Wisconsin. When complete the Littoral Combat Ship can carry a crew of 95, and spend 21 straight days at sea. It has what naval experts call a "shallow draft." "It can go places where many of the other blue water Navy ships can't," said Ralston. It's also very fast. "45 plus knots," said Ralston. "A lot of power, a lot of maneuverability." And, it can serve a variety of missions. "You can tailor the ship by placing a mission package on board the ship," Ralston said. "You can tailor it to the mission you're going to do."
It's a ship that Ralston is proud to command, and proud to call the USS Sioux City. "For me, and eleven of my crew members to be here is really important," said Ralston. "Reaching out. We want to show the people of Sioux City what their ship is all about, what their namesake is all about."
This visit is the second for Commander Ralston. He came to Sioux City back in June to research local landmarks to help design the crest that was unveiled last night.
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