RCD member Barbara Levin is the official sponsor of the new Littoral Combat Ship USS Detroit! The ship was commissioned on October 22, 2016 in the Detroit River. (More below.)
A number of RCD members attended the inspiring event, highlighted by the ship being “brought to life” as the crew ceremonially ran to take their positions. Several dignitaries spoke, Commanding Officer Michael P. Desmond, other naval officers, Senator Debbie Stabenow, and Barbara. Thousands of civilians attended, including a contingent of Canadian Mounties. The anthems of the U.S. and Canada were played. The ship was built in Marinette, Wisconsin, on Lake Superior. Barbara christened the ship there on October 18, 2014. She had been present at the keel laying on November 8, 2012 as well. The technically advanced ship has a shallow draft, 4.3 m, allowing it to patrol rivers and lakes as well as the sea. Speed is in excess of 40 knots. The ship can fire surface-to-air missiles and carries two Seahawk aircraft. It weighs 3,480 tons.
Several other US Navy ships have carried the Detroit appellation, starting with a 20-gun sloop serving the Royal Navy during the War of 1812. The U.S. Navy captured the HMS Detroit in the Battle of Lake Erie, and she was renamed the USS Detroit. Another ship carrying that name was the former USS Canadaigua. Bearing that name, she took part in the blockade of Charleston harbor in the Civil War. She was briefly renamed the USS Detroit in 1869. The next USS Detroit called at ports in Central America and Asia. She saw service in the Spanish-American War in Cuba and Puerto Rico. The next ship with the name served in World War II in the Mediterranean and the Pacific. Another vessel bearing the name was a supply ship serving in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. She was decommissioned in 2005.
Here is the text of Barbara’s remarks to the crew:
It is with great pride and pleasure that I congratulate you on the commissioning of the USS Detroit (LCS7). To be the sponsor of a state-of-the-art ship that bears the name of my hometown is a great honor. To be associated with those who serve our nation on her and the families who support them is an even greater one.
The outstanding work of the Commissioning Committee and the warm welcome you are receiving this week are just one sign of how important you and your ship are to the people of Detroit, our state, and our neighbors in Canada. We are all grateful for your hard work and that of the men and women who built the USS Detroit (LCS7).
As the Arsenal of Democracy that helped save the world from tyranny during World War II, Detroit used its manufacturing expertise to provide our military with the arms needed to defeat the enemy, just as the Navy used its training expertise to develop the strongest naval force of the war. The USS Detroit and its crews have benefitted greatly from many historic naval strengths, but, like the City of Detroit, are also employing advanced technology and innovation to meet new missions and challenges in the 21st century.
As Captain Desmond and crew initiate the USS Detroit, (LCS7) service in our great Navy, we hope our proud history and our pride in you and your ship strengthen and inspire you as you defend our nation and represent its values around the globe. We wish you fair winds and following seas wherever your missions may take you and a safe return to your loved ones.Barbara received her BA in mathematics at the University of Michigan, an MA in mathematics from Columbia University, and a JD degree from Wayne State’s law school. She worked in computer programming and other fields at Bell Laboratories and the General Motors Research Center. After receiving her law degree, she was employed by Dykema Gossett Spencer Goodnow and Trigg in Detroit, and at the U.S. Department of the Interior.She then served as Director of the Women’s Agenda at the Center for Defense Information, and worked on renewable energy projects at Energy Conversion Devices, a Michigan company. She has served on the board of Mazon, a Jewish organization fighting hunger, and other charitable organizations. She serves on the board of officers of RCD. Upon her husband’s retirement from the U.S. Senate, she and Carl have moved back to downtown Detroit. They have three daughters and six grandchildren.