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Navy sets date for pressing USS Wichita into service

The USS Wichita is launched sideways into the Menominee River, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, in Marinette, Wis.

RICK GEBHARD /THE EAGLE HERALD

By JERRY SIEBENMARK | The Wichita Eagle | Published: November 3, 2018

WICHITA, Kan. (Tribune News Service) — The third Navy ship to bear the city of Wichita’s name will soon be pressed into active duty.

The littoral combat ship USS Wichita will be commissioned at a ceremony on Jan. 12 at Naval Station Mayport, Fla., near Jacksonville.

The ship is the 13th of the Navy’s Freedom class of littoral combat ships, which are the Navy’s fastest and most adaptable ships.

At 387 feet long, 57 feet wide and a top speed of more than 45 knots — or nearly 52 miles per hour — littoral ships can conduct minesweeping operations, anti-submarine and drug trafficking surveillance and humanitarian operations.

The USS Wichita also is equipped with a launching pad for two MH-60 Seahawk helicopters.

It will be the third Navy ship to carry Wichita’s name. The first USS Wichita was a heavy cruiser commissioned in 1939; it earned 13 battle stars during World War II. The second was a replenishment oiler commissioned in 1968 that earned four battle stars in Vietnam during its 24 years of service.

The January commissioning of the third USS Wichita will be free and open to the public. Reservations and tickets are required to attend, and can be ordered at usswichita.org.

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©2018 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.)
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