The littoral combat ship Little Rock steamed into its homeport of Mayport, Florida, today for the first time — about three months later than scheduled.
The ship was commissioned in early December in Buffalo, New York, next to its namesake, the guided-missile cruiser Little Rock, now a museum ship in the St. Lawrence Seaway. It was the first time a Navy ship had been commissioned next to its namesake vessel.
But the LCS drew wider attention on Christmas Eve, when the ship became marooned for what would go on to be a three-month stay in Montreal when an extreme cold snap iced the ship in.
The break in the ice finally came March 31, and it continued on its journey to Mayport. After short port visits to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, the Little Rock pulled in while “crew lined the rails in their dress blues as the crowd of friends, families, and shipmates greeted the ship with flowers, signs and waving American flags,” a Navy release said.
The ship entered the basin at Mayport while “Back in Black” by AC/DC blared, the release said. Little Rock had also used this song as it pulled into Buffalo in early December for commissioning. It’s a tribute to the cruiser Little Rock and its motto, “Back With a Vengeance.”
“Little Rock is a fast, lethal ship ready to go out and fulfill her mission,” said Cmdr. Todd Peters, the ship’s commanding officer. “The crew worked relentlessly to bring her home and make their way ‘Back With a Vengeance.’ We are ready to make final preparations to deploy and carry our motto into history.”
The homecoming completed what was a three-and-a-half month inaugural journey from Marinette, Wisconsin, where the ship was built.
“After so many months of training and preparing, we are proud to bring Little Rock home to Mayport,” said Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Brett Ragan, whose wife and baby daughter were waiting for him on the pier.
“The families back home have been so supportive during this entire process; it is great to see the crew reunited with their families and to show off our ship,” said Operations Specialist Senior Chief Tarius Williams. “We are proud of Little Rock. It is great to see it in the Mayport basin joining the Atlantic fleet.”