Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Canberra (LCS 30) was commissioned at the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Base East in Sydney, Australia on July 22. During the ceremony, leaders and distinguished guests from the U.S. and Australia wished the crew of Canberra fair winds and following seas as they brought the ship to life and began its commissioned service.
Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, delivered the commissioning ceremony’s principal address. The ceremony also featured remarks from His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley, AC, DSC, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, the Honorable Caroline Kennedy, U.S. Ambassador to Australia, the Honourable Richard Marles, Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Adm. Michael Gilday, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, Vice Adm. Mark Hammond, Royal Australian Chief of Navy, and Mr. Larry Ryder, Vice President of Business Development and Government Affairs, Austal USA. The commissioning caps a weeklong series of events celebrating the ship and its namesake city. During the ceremony, Canberra’s commanding officer Cmdr. Will Ashley, reported the ship ready, and ship sponsor, Honourable Marise Payne, the former Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs, gave the traditional order to “Man our ship and bring her to life!”
“This truly is a special occasion for our fleet and our nation to be here with you in Australia, one of our closest allies, to celebrate the commissioning of our Navy’s newest warship that is destined to serve throughout the Indo-Pacific region,” said Del Toro. “I am confident that wherever USS Canberra is sailing, and whatever challenges her crew may face, they are ready, as reinforced by this warship’s motto — ‘Can Do!'”
Canberra departed its homeport of Naval Base San Diego for the first U.S. Navy ceremonial commissioning in Australia on June 13, visiting American Samoa and the Pacific Island Nation of Fiji prior to its arrival in Sydney for commissioning. Independence-variant littoral combat ships USS Jackson (LCS 6), USS Manchester (LCS 14), USS Oakland (LCS 24), and USS Mobile (LCS 26) are also operating in the Indo-Pacific.
“Today marks a proud moment which our Royal Australian Navy is privileged to share alongside our allies and friends in the United States Navy,” said Australian Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond. “The connection between our navies, forged in battle during the Second World War, is reflected in the name USS Canberra.”
Earlier in the week, Sailors from USS Canberra engaged in sporting events, shared meals, and exchanged ship tours with the crew of HMAS Canberra. The crew also participated in community relations events like a beach clean-up with the Taronga zoo.
Crewmembers are also honored to visit their namesake city, Canberra, for a Freedom of Entry march on July 23. The U.S. Navy has a strong tradition of developing relationships between a ship and their namesake community or family, establishing these enduring ties at the beginning of Canberra’s service will strengthen bonds between the ship and the people of Canberra. This tradition dates to medieval times and is the highest accolade bestowed by a town or city upon a group or individual as a reflection of trust and confidence held by the citizens. Canberra is recognised as a great innovative, creative, and artistic city and is one of the world’s most livable cities.
Canberra is the second U.S. Navy ship named for Australia’s capital. The first, a Baltimore-class heavy cruiser, was renamed from Pittsburgh to Canberra on October 16, 1942, and was commissioned on October 14, 1943. It was named in honor of the Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra, which was lost at the Battle of Savo Island in World War II. The ship was decommissioned on February 2, 1970, and was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on July 31, 1978.
Independence-variant littoral combat ships are fast, optimally manned, mission-tailored surface combatants that operate in near-shore and open-ocean environments, winning against 21st-century coastal threats. LCS integrate with joint combined, manned and unmanned teams to support forward presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence missions around the globe.