PORT EVERGLADES, FLA. (WSVN) – A special commissioning ceremony was held for a U.S. Navy warship with a special name.
7News cameras on Saturday captured attendees at the event held at Port Everglades on the USS Fort Lauderdale, the first Navy warship named after a South Florida city.
The namesake ceremony started with a blessing given by an elder of the Chickasaw Nation.
“Executive officer, hoist the cars in the commission cannon,” said a Navy officer.
“Aye, aye, sir!” replied the executive officer.
The momentous occasion takes place exactly eight months after the ship was delivered to the Navy.
“There are only two VIPs here that I’d like to talk about: one is the people of the city of Fort Lauderdale, and two is the crew of this magnificent warship,” said a Navy officer.
“This ceremony is a momentous occasion, not just for the military, but for the almost 200,000 people who call Fort Lauderdale their home,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis.
Built in Mississippi, the ship came to have its name thanks to late retired Senior Chief Petty Officer Charles Chuck Black, who made this decade-long effort come to life.
“The Navy League and the city here always opens up their arms to the U.S. Navy,” said a Navy officer. “It’s just fantastic in that regard, and he started really working with local leaders and our members of Congress.”
The massive ship weighs more than 7,000 tons and sits 12 stories high above the water.
It will be used for combat, as well as to transport supplies, vehicles and tanks.
“Anything, a small collection of vehicles, up to max weight or one M1A1 tank,” said a Navy officer.
Close to 700 Marines will embark on the warship at a time.
But being on board the USS Fort Lauderdale has sentimental meaning for Boatswain’s mate, Tiago Campos, who gets to see his hometown honored.
“I grew up here, I went to school here. I’ve been away for 19 years, and just coming back here at the tail end of my career and commissioning this, it’s just amazing,” he said.
The USS Fort Lauderdale won’t be homeported in South florida. Its home base will be in Virginia at Naval Station Norfolk.
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