The US Navy commissioned its 12th Freedom-variant littoral combat ship, USS Oakland (LCS 24), in a ceremony in Oakland, California, on April 17.
Due to public health and safety concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic, the commissioning was a private event and was live-streamed.
Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Harker delivered the commissioning ceremony’s principal address.
Cmdr. Francisco X. Garza, a native of Phoenix, Arizona, is the ship’s commanding officer and leads a crew of 70 officers and enlisted personnel. The 3,200-ton Oakland was built by Austal USA/General Dynamics in Mobile, Alabama. The ship is 421 feet in length, has a beam of 103 feet, and a navigational draft of 15 feet. It is powered by two gas turbine engines, two main propulsion diesel engines, and four waterjets to reach speeds up to 40-plus knots.
Oakland is the third ship to bear the name and the 12th Independence-variant LCS. It will be homeported at Naval Base San Diego, California.
“The USS Oakland crew is excited and ready to bring our ship to life and join the fleet,” said Garza. “We are privileged to be a part of this ship and embody the spirit of the people of Oakland. As plank owners and future crew members build a positive legacy for this ship, the city of Oakland will experience those successes with us.”
While the navy is proceeding receiving Independence variant LCS and putting the into service, it has suspended deliveries of the Freedom-variant LCS. The service made the decision after determining that the propulsion problems that have been plaguing the Freedom variant was a fleet-wide issue. The navy is not accepting further ships until the problem is fixed.
It is worth noting that the service has also started to phase out the first four ships in the class, 13 years after the first unit entered service. USS Freedom, the US Navy’s first littoral combat ship, completed its final deployment on April 12.