A large crowd turned out Saturday for the commissioning of a U.S. Navy ship named after the city of Santa Barbara.
Dozens of local elected officials and other dignitaries were on hand for the commissioning of the USS Santa Barbara (LCS-32), which is what is known as a littoral combat ship, a relatively small military vessel designed for operations near shore.
The Santa Barbara is part of the “independence class” of littoral combat ships, and is the 32nd type of the vessel.
Its homeport will be Naval Base San Diego.
Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, was the keynote speaker for the event, which was held ship side at Naval Base Ventura County in Port Hueneme.
“On behalf of the sailors and marines of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, congratulations on the commissioning of the USS Santa Barbara,” Paparo said in remarks prepared for the occasion.
“I know each of you will be resilient and determined, and serve your country with honor on our nation’s newest littoral combat ship.”
Several City of Santa Barbara officials were on hand, including Mayor Randy Rowse, who presented a proclamation from the City Council.
During the ceremony, Cmdr. Brian Sparks took over command of the 418-foot-long vessel.
Among those speaking were Rowse; Larry Ryder, vice president of Austal USA; Rear Adm. Casey Moton; Assistant Navy Secretary Russell Rumbaugh; and Lolita “Lola” Zinke, the ship’s sponsor and the wife of Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mt.
The USS Santa Barbara was built in Mobile, Alabama, by Austal USA. She was christened in October 2021, and launched the following month.
Following sea trials, she was accepted by the Navy in July 2022.