It has been a long time coming and the tentative date has moved a few times, but we now have confirmation that the new USS Little Rock will be commissioned alongside its namesake at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park on December 16.
"I was delighted to receive word this afternoon from Commander Todd Peters, Commander of the future USS Little Rock, that the ship's commissioning will officially take place on 16 December 2017 at Canalside in Buffalo," announced Maurice L. Naylon III, chair of the local commissioning committee.
The commissioning ceremony will mark the beginning of the ship's service in the U.S. Navy.
The crew of the new Little Rock is expected to arrive in Buffalo December 8, when the all-volunteer commissioning committee plans to begin a week of activities celebrating the historic event. It will be the first time a Navy ship has been commissioned in Buffalo and the first time a Navy ship is given the same name as a de-commissioned ship.
“The mission of our committee is to pull together a first-class event – something fitting of the historical significance of this commissioning,” said Naylon. “We also have the responsibility of raising money to fund initiatives that will honor and preserve the legacy of both ships that carry the name USS Little Rock.”
The original Little Rock, docked on Buffalo's waterfront, not only has a storied combat record, but it is the ship served on by U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus - who chose the name of the new ship. It was in service from August 27, 1944 until its decommissioning in November 1976, and is the only remaining Cleveland class ship on permanent display in the United States.