USS San Diego formally commissioned - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

USS San Diego formally commissioned

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A commissioning ceremony was under way Saturday at Navy Pier, adjacent to the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum, for the fourth Navy ship to be named after San Diego.

The amphibious transport dock USS San Diego is set to be the first with the moniker of "America's Finest City" to be stationed here.

"With today's ceremony, the Navy will commission the fourth ship to bear the name USS San Diego. For what I've been told, the ship being commissioned today is the most advanced amphibious ship in the world," Mayor Jerry Sanders said at the ceremony. He presented the ship's officers and the crew with the key to the city.

The commissioning ceremony is a naval tradition and historic event for a ship, marking the moment a new craft is placed in active service in the fleet.

The 684-foot-long San Diego, the sixth ship in the San Antonio class, had its keel laid on May 23, 2007, at the Huntington Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. It was christened June 12, 2010, and delivered to the Navy Dec. 19, 2011.

The ship's sponsor is Linda Winter, wife of former Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter.

The San Antonio class ship is designed to carry landing craft, fighting vehicles, helicopters and personnel. The ships have more capacity than their predecessors use "stealth" technology that includes the shape of the hull and its superstructure.

Previous USS San Diego's included:

-- the original, a cruiser launched in 1907, renamed San Diego in 1914, and sunk in 1918 in the Atlantic Ocean following explosions believed to have been caused by German mines or torpedoes from an enemy submarine -- making it the only major U.S. warship lost in World War I;

-- a light cruiser commissioned in 1942 that became the first major allied ship to enter Tokyo Bay at the end of World War II, and was the second most-decorated U.S. Navy vessel of that conflict;

-- a cargo ship that served between 1968 and 1997.

Sailors from the cargo version of the USS San Diego planned a reunion in conjunction with the commissioning of its namesake successor, and planned to be at the ceremony.

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