As clouds passed overhead, shipboard alarms echoed across the Cooper River and the crew of USS Charleston (LCS 18) ran aboard their ship and brought her to life. More than 5,000 guests gathered at the Columbus Street Terminal in the ship’s namesake city, officially welcoming the U.S. Navy’s newest littoral combat ship into the fleet.
LCS 18 is the 16th littoral combat ship to enter the fleet and the ninth of the Independence variant. The ship is the sixth to be named after Charleston, South Carolina, to honor a long history, from the decades of work at the Charleston Naval Shipyard to Charleston Marine Container, Inc., building mission modules for the littoral combat ship program on March 2.
This is after the US Navy commissioned, on February 16, USS Tulsa (LCS 16), the 15th LCS to enter US Navy service and the eighth Independence-class LCS.
Charleston Mayor John T. Tecklenburg welcomed the audience to the commissioning of what he identified as a symbol of the city of Charleston. Tecklenburg added that since the founding of Charleston almost 350 years ago, the sea has been part of the Holy’s City’s economy and culture.
“The sea is history,” said Tecklenburg. “Nowhere will you find a people who understand those words more fully than the people of Charleston.”
In honoring the state of its namesake city, LCS 18 adopted South Carolina’s motto – As I Breathe, I Hope – and made it its own adding a combative twist – As We Breathe, We Fight!