ARCHIVE STORY: USS Sioux City christened, launched from Wisconsi - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

ARCHIVE STORY: USS Sioux City christened, launched from Wisconsin shipyard

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"Sioux City" isn't just the name of the 4th largest city in Iowa anymore. It's also the name given to the Navy's newest warship, which was launched from a shipyard in northern Wisconsin, Saturday morning.

Two years ago, a worker put his torch to steel at Marinette Marine, in Marinette, Wisconsin, and made the first weld on what would become the keel of the USS Sioux City. Since then, every day of work on the latest Littoral Combat Ship built toward Saturday's launch.

As the sun came up on the shipyard, you could see the USS Sioux City was set on the launch platform. The bunting was placed. Flags flew proudly. The USS Sioux City was ready to launch, and do her duty by defending America's interests at home, and abroad. "We need to be where the threats are," said ADM Michelle Howard, Vice Chair of U.S. Navy. "Homeland defense is important, but it is much  more important for us to have an away game."

The day began with songs, and speeches. So many speakers praised the citizens of Sioux City for embracing the honor of having a ship with  the name "Sioux City" on its stern. "We've been honored as a community a lot of times, but this would have to be one of the top deals," said Bob Scott, Mayor. Scott has  served the city for 20-years, and he says this honor is one Sioux City won't forget. "This is the first Naval ship to bear Sioux City's name," said Sen. Tammy Baldwin, (D) Wisconsin. "That's exciting. It's an exciting  first to celebrate."

The work to get the USS Sioux City to this point has taken two years starting with the keel laying at Marinette Marine in February of 2014. Saturday saw another milestone. The christening... a ceremonial breaking of a champagne bottle on the ship's bow. "The champagne bottle gets broken, but this day is about the bonding... the bonding between the sponsor of the ship and the crew," Howard  said.

"For the United States of America, I christen thee Sioux City," said Mary Winnefeld, USS Sioux City sponsor as she smashed the bottle on the ship's side.  "May God bless this ship and  all who sail on her."

Winnefeld is the ship's sponsor, and now considered an honorary crew member. It was up to her to send the Sioux City on its way...  with one swing.

Once in the water, work began to finish the ship, which is about 80-percent complete. The Sioux City's executive officer, Ken  Lieberman, says the crew can't wait to get aboard. "To be here since the beginning, since it was born, and see it being built the last year-and-half, and to now see it go into the water  sitting in its natural habitat to start its trials is truly and honor and an amazing experience," said CDR Ken Lieberman, USS Sioux City.

Over the next 10 to 12 months the USS Sioux City will undergo what are called "builder's trials" at Marinette Marine. The first step is to get inside, and check the hull to make sure it's secure. After the "builder's trials come "acceptance trials." If all goes according to plan, the USS Sioux City should be sold off the to Navy in 2017.

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