It's not the first time Minnesota has been commissioned into the U.S. Navy, but it is the latest.

The U.S. Navy commissioned its newest littoral combat ship USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (LCS 21) in Duluth, Minnesota, on May 21, 2022. What Is Littoral? Think coastal, which means on or near the coast, as a coastal town.

USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (LCS 21) Commissions
DULUTH, Minnesota (May 21, 2021) Sailors salute the audience during the commissioning ceremony of the Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (LCS 21) in Duluth, Minnesota. Minneapolis-Saint Paul is the second U.S. Navy warship to honor the Twin Cities. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sonja Wickard)

LCS is a fast, agile, mission-focused platform designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation. It is designed to defeat asymmetric "anti-access" threats (when they don't want to let us in!), and is capable of supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence.

Rep. Betty McCollum (D), Minnesota 4th District, spoke at the ceremony.

“The strength of America’s national security, and the democratic values we hold dear, are being tested today like they have not been in decades...I can think of no two names that represent that strength more than Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Together we are one team – those who built this fine ship, and those who will serve on her. It is the strength and determination of the American people that is the backbone of our national security.”

Minnesota's Governor Tim Walz was at the ceremony and was heard to say, "This is a unique opportunity to gather ourselves as Minnesotans, and Americans...We’re not just a country; we’re an ideal.”

Serving aboard the USS Donald Cook is Plainview, MN's Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Meyer (U.S. Navy photo by Airman Eben Boothby)

US Senator Amy Klobuchar also attended along with local dignitaries. Jodi Greene, former Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy, gave the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life.”

“As a crew, you have already proven your strength and determination in getting ready for this momentous day," said Greene. "You prepared this ship to take her place in the fleet during challenging times. All eyes were on you as you continued to make this pathway."

It wasn't a straight road (channel?) from being built to being commissioned.

Built by Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette, Wisconsin. Minneapolis-Saint Paul was launched and christened in on June 15, 2019. The ship completed acceptance trials, Aug. 21, 2020, and was delivered to U.S. Navy, November 18, 2021.

“I am incredibly proud of this crew for their dedication to shipmate and ship as we worked toward the commissioning of USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul, '' said Cmdr. Alfonza White, commanding officer of Minneapolis-Saint Paul. “We are honored to carry the name Minneapolis-Saint Paul into the fleet."

Minneapolis-Saint Paul is the second naval ship to honor Minnesota’s Twin Cities although each city has been honored twice before.

The first U.S. Navy warship named Minneapolis-Saint Paul was a Los Angeles-class submarine, launched in 1983 that participated in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul (SSN 708) was the first submarine to carry Tomahawk missiles specifically designed for use in strikes against Iraq during the Gulf War. Having served for over two decades with distinction, the submarine was decommissioned in 2007.

Minneapolis-Saint Paul will be homeported at Naval Station Mayport, Florida. But will not summer in Minnesota. 

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