Milwaukee, Marinette Together Again

Lockheed Martin team lays keel for the newest Littoral Combat Ship, the future USS Milwaukee


The keel-laying ceremony for the future USS Milwaukee – the nation’s fifth littoral combat ship – took place on Oct. 27 in Marinette, Wisconsin, signifying the beginning of the ship’s construction. Pictured (left to right): Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett; Marinette Marine Corporation President and CEO Chuck Goddard; US Senator (Wisc.) Herb Kohl; US Navy LCS Program Manager Captain Jeffrey Riedel; and vice president of littoral ship systems at Lockheed Martin Joe North.

On Nov. 8, 2008, Milwaukee rolled out the red carpet for many Marinette residents who came to witness the commissioning of the nation’s first Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), the USS Freedom, built by the Lockheed Martin-led team at the Marinette Marine Shipyard in northeast Wisconsin.

Three years later on Oct. 27, Marinette returned the favor, hosting Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Wisconsin’s senior Senator Herb Kohl and other dignitaries for the keel-laying of LCS 5, the future USS Milwaukee.

“It’s a great honor to participate in this event for the future USS Milwaukee,” said Senator Kohl. “The keel laying ceremony is a great milestone for the LCS program, which is so vital to our military and to the people of Wisconsin and our economy. We’re proud of our state’s long history in shipbuilding and our contribution to the nation’s naval defense.”

The Milwaukee is the third Freedom variant LCS built by the Lockheed Martin team and the first of up to 10 LCS the team will build as part of a fixed-price-incentive-fee contract the Navy awarded to it in December 2011. The Lockheed Martin team, which also includes naval architect Gibbs & Cox, successfully completed builder’s trials recently for its second LCS, the Fort Worth.

Construction of the Milwaukee began in September. With the advent of modular construction in modern shipbuilding, “lay the keel” means the start of the module erection process that reflects the ship coming to life. During the keel-laying ceremony, Senator Kohl authenticated the keel.

“We are committed to providing the Navy with littoral combat ships affordably and on time,” said Joe North, vice president of littoral ship systems for Lockheed Martin. “LCS 5’s construction will benefit from production of the first and second Freedom-variant ships as we continue to drive cost out of the program.”

In March, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that LCS 5 and LCS 7 would be named the USS Milwaukee and USS Detroit, respectively, to honor the Marinette Marine workers, most of which live in either Wisconsin or neighboring Michigan.

LCS is a new class of surface combatant ship designed to defeat growing threats close to shore and perform a variety of missions such as mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare, surface warfare and humanitarian relief.

To read more about the keel laying event, please click on the following links.

Keel Laid for Future USS Milwaukee (
Sen. Kohl: USS Milwaukee (
Keel-Laying Ceremony at Marinette Marine (WGBA 26 / NBC 26)
Milestone for Navy Combat Ship at Marinette Marine (WFRV 5 / CBS)
Marinette Marine Lays Keel for Fifth Littoral Combat Ship “Milwaukee” (WBAY 2 / ABC)
LCS 5 Keel-Laying (WLUK 11 / FOX)