July 4, 2014 at 10:26 pm

USS Detroit will be commissioned on Detroit River in 2016

A poster shows what the USS Detroit will look like. (Navy League of the United States)

Detroit — Not only is one of the U.S. Navy’s newest warships being named after Detroit, but it’s also coming to Motown to get its commission.

The Navy will place the ship — the USS Detroit — officially into active service during a spring 2016 ceremony on the Detroit River downtown, the Navy League of the United States said Friday.

“We are looking forward to hosting USS Detroit crew members and their families during commissioning week,” John McCandless, chairman of the Navy League’s commissioning committee and retired Navy captain, said in a statement. “There will be many opportunities for Detroit-area residents to show support for their namesake ship and her crew, not only during commissioning week, but at events leading up to commissioning.”

McCandless is also president of the Navy League’s Metropolitan Detroit Council. Based in Arlington, Virginia, the league is a civilian organization that supports the U.S. military’s sea services.

The warship, which is being built in Marinette, Wisconsin, is the Navy’s sixth such vessel to take its name from the Motor City.

The Detroit also will be the seventh littoral combat ship to join the Navy’s fleet. Littoral combat ships are designed to be fast and agile for operations close to shore and on the open water.

Once seaworthy, the 387-foot-long ship will have a core crew of 50. It will also be able to top speeds of 40 knots or about 46 miles per hour.

Barbara Levin, the wife of U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, the ship’s sponsor, presided over the Nov. 8, 2012, ceremony in which the central steel beam, or keel, was laid down to mark the start of its construction.

This fall, the Navy League plans to have her officially christen the ship by breaking a bottle of Champagne over the bow and launch it into the Menominee River on the border of Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula.

In the spring 2016, the ship will make its maiden voyage by sailing to its commissioning ceremony in Detroit.

“It’s so fitting that we will commission the USS Detroit, which embodies the next generation of our Navy’s capabilities, in a city focusing on new horizons,” Barbara Levin said in a statement.

After the ship is commissioned, it will sail to its home port of San Diego.

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