Will A New Littoral Combat Ship Honor Battle Creek?

Why is naming a ship after a city important?
This is what appears to be happening in Michigan when announcements were made on the commissioning of the USS Detroit (LCS-7) in Spring 2016 on the Detroit River. And the citizens of Detroit, Michigan and the entire Great lakes region couldn’t be happier with this great news and development.

For the naming ceremony for the 6th Navy ship to carry the name USS Detroit, local leaders (Sen. Carl Levin, and Mayor Dave Bing) joined the US Secretary of Navy Ray Mabus.

USS Detroit
The USS Detroit will be the 4th littoral combat ship of the Freedom Class to be built on the Great Lakes and the 7th combat ship added to the US Fleet. It is being built at the Marinette Marine Shipyard in Wisconsin by Lockheed-Martin.

Littoral combat ships (LCS) are described to be agile, fast and with focused-mission platforms designed for near-shore environment operations with the capability of open-ocean operation. The US LCS program was established to create a new generation of affordable surface combat ships built to the highest standards utilizing a vibration isolation platform, which allows the ships to operate in dangerous near-shore and shallow environments.

The USS Detroit will be commissioned on the Detroit Riverfront  in Spring 2016.

USS Freedom
The first Navy warship built on the Great Lakes since World War II was the USS Freedom (LCS-1) which was commissioned in Milwaukee back in 2008. The historic event was witnessed by the Navy Council League of Battle Creek-Kalamazoo, which envisioned a similar ship to be named after Battle Creek.

With the commissioning of the LCS-7, the ship-naming idea was brought up again in one of the council meetings. Upon obtaining a ship-naming document through Sen. Carl Levin’s office, the council became excited to find out that the new LCS Class ships were going to take the name of small to mid-size American communities that exhibited strong American values and patriotism.

USS Freedom, another Littoral Combat Ship (LCS-1) shown here with the
large helideck and RAM launcher on the hangar.

Can A New LCS Be Named “USS Battle Creek?”
The council thought it is the opportune time to submit the name Battle Creek, which they deem fits the description perfectly. This will be done through a committee that was formed and tasked to initiate a formal request to have a new littoral combat ship named “USS Battle Creek.” The request is to be submitted to the only decision maker on ship-naming, the Secretary of Navy.

Reasons To Justify Ship-Naming Initiative
The request has to convince the Secretary as to why the name Battle Creek fits the new LCS perfectly. Battle Creek has many reasons worthy of the criteria for ship-naming, including:

  • More than a hundred years of a strong military community
  • Home of an important training ground for troops, Fort Custer
  • Home to a world-class Air National Guard Base, the only one remaining in operation
  • Home to other reserve components and key DOD facilities and VA assets
  • Has a new Navy Operational Support Center that incorporates all Navy Reserve activities in West Michigan

A formal request has been submitted to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus on the naming of a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) to USS Battle Creek based on the ship-naming guideline.

Local Political Endorsement
With the endorsement of two Senators (Levin and Stabenow), Gov. Snyder along with many state and local leaders and organizations, State Rep. Kate Segal of Battle Creek drafted a Michigan House Resolution (HR 281) encouraging the Secretary of Navy to give recognition to Battle Creek by naming a new littoral combat ship after the city. The House Resolution passed unanimously in the Michigan House.

Making To The Consideration List
The request was received by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus who acknowledged and commended the effort, citing that Battle Creek is indeed a worthy community. The request was placed on the consideration list and all that’s left now is for the council to wait.

Lacking Political Muscle In Washington
While Battle Creek has little or no political muscle in Washington to lead the campaign to earn the ship’s name, the council and the entire community is optimistic that like the other 16 cities in Michigan that have been honored with Navy ships named after them, Battle Creek will be honored its hundred years of service to the nation as well as it’s other attributes. A ship named after Battle Creek would do all of West Michigan a great service and recognition.

Will the US Navy Secretary recognize and honor Battle Creek’s contributions to the country?

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