After 15 locks, four Great Lakes, three port visits, and over 1,400 nautical miles traveled, USS Marinette (LCS 25) and her mighty crew at last arrived at homeport of Mayport November 20.
The road to make it to the Atlantic Ocean included months of preparation from the crew. In less than two months after moving onboard in August, the crew certified in several mission areas required to safely operate and get underway including: Search and Rescue, Navigation, Damage Control, Communications and Cyber, and was the first LCS to pass initial Engineering Light Off Assessment in record time of five days.
“I’m extremely proud of this crew’s accomplishments and dedication. We’ve encountered various challenges and delays; this crew remained focused on getting home safely before Thanksgiving!” said Commander Shane Brewer, Marinette’s commanding officer. “As a north Jacksonville native, I’m honored to lead these Sailors and bring this ship to Mayport.”
Each evolution, although involving different departments on the ship, required careful coordination and support from each division and Sailor onboard and was necessary for the crew to be able to set sail from Marinette, Wisconsin towards the site of its commissioning ceremony in Menominee, Michigan.
On September 16, the crew took the order to “man the ship and bring her to life.” Amongst thousands of onlookers, the ship made its much anticipated transition from pre-commissioned unit to United States Ship and began her sail around home.
After the commissioning festivities concluded, the ship began her transit eastward. Along the way, she stopped in Cleveland, Ohio, Quebec City, Quebec and Halifax, Nova Scotia for refueling, stores replenishment and liberty for the crew.
“The Sail around for USS Marinette (LCS 25) has been an experience of a lifetime. If you were to walk amongst this crew today, you would without a doubt feel the unbreakable bonds that were formed over memories made through struggle, perseverance, courage, and success.” said Damage Controlman First Class Michael Neiner, USS Marinette’s Sailor of the Year! “I myself will never forget this journey. FREEDOM DONE WRIGHT.”
With the last port fading in the rear only a few hundred nautical miles remain before Jacksonville is within view, the crew is eagerly awaiting returning to their families and friends, and ready to take on the next mission that will come their way as the Navy’s newest warship join the fleet!