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USS Manchester will be commissioned in Portsmouth in early 2018

May 27. 2017 3:49AM
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, announces the USS Manchester (in picture) will be docked in Portsmouth. Also pictured is CEO John Allard of Granite State Manufacturing in Manchester, where the announcement was made on Friday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

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  • If the old and the new USS Manchester were to meet in battle, which ship do you believe would prevail?
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MANCHESTER — Portsmouth will host the commissioning of the future USS Manchester (LCS14) in early 2018, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen announced Friday.

As the official sponsor of the Littoral Combat Ship named for the Queen City, Shaheen is a permanent, honorary member of the crew and her initials are welded into the ship’s hull.

Friday’s announcement was made at Granite State Manufacturing, which builds critical systems and components for the Navy’s newest class of warship.

“This is a proud day for New Hampshire, for the cities of Manchester and Portsmouth, and for the entire team here at Granite State Manufacturing,” said Shaheen, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Acting Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley said New Hampshire has a long history of supporting the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps so it’s an honor to welcome the Manchester into the fleet in Portsmouth.

Littoral Combat Ships are designed to operate in shallow waters off coastlines, it’s primary missions include surface warfare, antisubmarine warfare and mine countermeasures. The USS Manchester is an Independence Class Littoral Combat Ship, which is distinct for being built on a high speed trimaran hull by Australian shipbuilder Austal in Mobile, Ala. 

Commander Emily Bassett will command the future USS Manchester.

“The crew of PCU Manchester (LCS 14) is eagerly preparing for our ship’s commissioning in Portsmouth,” she said. “Our efforts are inspired by our ship’s motto, borrowed from our namesake city of Manchester, ‘Work Conquers.’ We’ve been focusing on conquering challenges with deliberate, hard work by building toughness in our team. We’ve executed combat team training in the simulator, physical fitness training at the SEAL BUD/S obstacle course, and individual qualification training on San Diego-based ships.  Soon, we will move as a crew from San Diego, Calif., to Mobile, Ala., and continue to conquer by working the certification and delivery of our proud ship. Thank you to the citizens of Manchester and the state of New Hampshire for giving us a proud legacy to serve.”

A commissioning ceremony marks the acceptance of a ship into the operating forces of the Navy.  At the moment of breaking the commissioning pennant next year, the crew will ceremonially run aboard the vessel.  At the moment when the commissioning pennant is broken at the masthead, the ship becomes a Navy command and takes her place alongside the other active ships of the fleet. Thereafter the ship is officially referred to as a United States Ship (USS).

USS Manchester photographed from a USS Philippine Sea plane while operating in the Mediterranean Sea, 9 March 1948. (U.S. Navy)

This is the second ship in the Navy to be named for Manchester. The first USS Manchester was a light cruiser built in Quincy, Mass., that saw action during the Korean War, was commissioned in 1946 and primarily operated in the Pacific. It served three combat tours and earned nine battle stars before it was decommissioned in 1956. On her last tour, the USS Manchester participated in Operation “Glory” to return to Hawaii 50 unidentified American dead from the Korean War.

The future USS Manchester was launched in May 2016, at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala. The Littoral Class Ship is expected to be commissioned in early 2018. (FACEBOOK)

The new USS Manchester is dwarfed by its Korean War-era predecessor. The new ship displaces only 3,000 tons and requires a crew of just 53 to sail, with up to 35 more depending on mission. The original USS Manchester displaced nearly 12,000 tons and required a crew of 1,255 officers and enlisted men to sail.

The last vessel commissioned in Portsmouth was the Virginia-class attack submarine USS New Hampshire in 2008.

The submarine will return to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, later this year for a retrofit to be completed by July 2018. 

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