SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The navy celebrated its newest ship Saturday, as more than a thousand people gathered at the Broadway pier for the commissioning of the USS Omaha.
The Omaha is a littoral combat ship, designed to be fast, agile and operate near the shoreline and is also capable of sailing in the open ocean. The 2,300-ton, 218-foot vessel is the fourth warship to be named after Nebraska's largest city, according to the Navy.
It was built by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama. It is the eleventh ship of its kind.
"Omaha and her sister ships represent an investment in our nation, the result of the partnership between the Department of the Navy and our shipbuilding industry. American craftsmen in Mississippi, Alabama and around the country have made USS Omaha possible," Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer said. "The (littoral combat ship) fills a unique mission for the U.S. Navy and as these remarkable ships continue to be produced out of our shipyards, they represent an increase in our readiness and lethality."
The principal address will be delivered by Joseph Robert "Bob" Kerrey, a former governor of Nebraska, former U.S. senator and Medal of Honor recipient from his time as a Navy SEAL during the Vietnam War.
Omaha philanthropist Susie Buffett will serve as honorary sponsor of the ship, a traditional role that will include her giving the order to "man our ship and bring her to life," the Navy said.
Buffett's father, Warren Buffett, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert will also attend, the Omaha World-Herald reported.
"Since Omaha is located far from the ocean, it is particularly gratifying to have the Navy name a ship for my hometown," Susie Buffett told CNBC. "I'm honored to serve as the sponsor of the USS Omaha. We hope to create a lasting bond between Omaha, Nebraska and the men and women who will serve on this magnificent ship."
The ship, which is powered by two gas turbine engines, two main propulsion diesel engines and four water jets can sail at speeds over 40 knots.
Commander Michael Toth, of Ridgeville, Ohio, leads a core crew of 70 officers and enlisted personnel on the ship, according to the Navy.