INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – 20 years after the last USS Indianapolis was decommissioned by the Navy, a new vessel is getting ready to hit the water while maintaining a strong connection to central Indiana.
Ray Shearer, of the USS Indianapolis Commissioning Committee, spoke with us about the brand new USS Indianapolis. The ship was just removed from her barn up in Marinette, Wisconsin and is now getting ready for a christening ceremony on Saturday, April 14.
The ship is a LCS 17, which has many capabilities, but is best designed for anti-submarine warfare in shallow waters.
It will be the fourth USS Indianapolis to be commissioned in history. The last one was a submarine used on secret missions during The Cold War.
Many Hoosiers know the legacy of the USS Indianapolis lost at sea after delivering parts for the atomic bomb. But, the first one was actually commissioned as a supply ship during WWI.
Shearer told us the Navy is committed to creating an everlasting bond between ships and the cities, states and people they represent.
“The ship is named after Indianapolis to honor the citizens here,” Shearer said. “Taxpayers support the Navy and they want to honor that.”
In addition to just having a ship named after the Circle City, the Navy sends every sailor who serves on USS Indy on an Indianapolis’ visit, coordinates STEM programs with local high schools and is even using Hoosier companies to help build the vessel.
Rolls Royce made the engine and ArcelorMittal’s steel was used for the body.
After the submarine was decommissioned in 1998, Shearer said he’s been involved with the long process of petitioning the Secretary of the Navy, who is the person responsible for naming ships, to reinstate the USS Indianapolis.
With under 300 today, Shearer said, “the Navy leans towards historic ships…and there’s no doubt the USS Indianapolis is in that category.”
It will be at least six months until the USS Indianapolis begins testing in Lake Michigan. Right now, the Navy is training and filling out the entire crew that will serve on the ship.
After it is done testing, a final commissioning ceremony will take place and it will be deployed into active duty.