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Navy moving USS Sioux City to Conn. for state's maritime festival

The USS Sioux City is seen in Annapolis, Md., on Nov. 17, 2018.

KENNETH D ASTON JR./U.S. NAVY

By BRIAN HALLENBECK | The Day | Published: September 11, 2019

NEW LONDON, Conn. (Tribune News Service) — A 388-foot Navy ship that’s been at the Naval Submarine Base since Friday will move to Fort Trumbull State Park this week for the Connecticut Maritime Heritage Festival, event organizers announced Tuesday.

The USS Sioux City, a surface vessel designed for duty close to shore, will fill in for the USS Philippine Sea, a 567-foot guided-missile cruiser that had been scheduled to dock here for the duration of the four-day festival, which begins Thursday.

Festival organizers learned Monday that the Philippine Sea was reassigned in the wake of Hurricane Dorian, which grazed southeastern states after devastating the Bahamas.

The Navy temporarily moved Sioux City, USS Milwaukee and USS Billings to the sub base in Groton to avoid the hurricane. The Milwaukee and the Billings left Groton on Monday, according to Chris Zendan, the base's public affairs officer. The three ships, all littoral combat ships, are home-ported in Mayport, Fla., as is the Philippine Sea.

Named after Iowa’s fourth-largest city, the Sioux City was built by Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wis., and launched on Jan. 30, 2016. It was commissioned at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., on Nov. 17, 2018.

A dozen ships, including the Coast Guard Academy’s training barque Eagle and other military vessels and schooners, will be open for free tours during the festival. The 136-foot Harvey Gamage, a sail training vessel that had been lined up, will not participate, festival organizers said.

The Coast Guard has canceled helicopter search-and-rescue demonstrations at the festival due to the need to divert helicopters to hurricane relief efforts, organizers said.

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