U.S. Navy Decommissions Another Littoral Combat Ship, The USS Milwaukee

The U.S. Navy is underway scrapping its existing fleet of littoral combat vessels. The latest one to hit the chopping block is the USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) which was reportedly decommissioned on 8 September, on Friday at Mayport in Florida.

The littoral combat vessel program was supposed to offer the Navy fast and powerful vessels that could operate near the shores, gradually taking on the coastal targets as well as subs. Instead, the program kept growing in cost, as the Navy and the U.S. military began shifting strategy and doctrine toward peer-to-peer combat, near the Pacific Ocean. The Navy pushed and phased out the vessels, with the budget for the fiscal year 2023 calling for the decommissioning of nine of the Freedom-class LCS vessels. The vessels have been nicknamed in some of the circles as little crappy vessels.

USS Milwaukee
Credits: media.defense.gov

The USS Milwaukee, an LCS variant belonging to the Freedom class, was commissioned in 2015 (November), in service for less than eight years. Per l last month’s report, the USS Sioux City was reportedly decommissioned after five long years of service.

Dirk Debbink, the Vice Adm., a retired Navy officer, and the former chair of Milwaukee’s commissioning committee,, mentioned at the ceremony held on Friday that they are proud of how the vessel served the Navy and the nation since the cold day in 2015 (November).

She happened to be the first serial production vessel of the Freedom Class, having incorporated hundreds of changes and lessons learned from Freedom and Fort Worth.

The Milwaukee deployed twice — earlier this year and back in 2022. It worked with law enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard. In the second deployment, the vessel’s crew members were involved in intercepting notorious drug traffickers, seizing a whopping $30 million in terms of cocaine bound for the US.

Throughout the life of the vessel, the sailors who sailed Milwaukee spearheaded the way in training as well as operations that led to fleet enhancements and culminated with significant operational success that supported national security aims and demonstrated the U.S. commitments to the country’s allies, per Cmdr. Jason Knox, the commanding officer of the vessel, declared at the ceremony. Not only would her sailors be proud of their distinctive accomplishments, but also the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, can be proud of theirs, too.

An investigative report by ProPublica detailed the issues with the littoral combat ships. The Navy, it saw, underestimated what it would cost to manufacture these. In the meantime, the vessels were plagued by continuous breakdowns as well as mechanical failures, while heavy reliance on contractors had left sailors untrained in fixing their own ships.

The crew members of the USS Milwaukee are all set to receive brand new assignments in other places in the Navy.

References: navy.mil, Task and Purpose

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  1. This is a sad commentary on how short sided individuals allowed these vessels to be built in the first place, when they should have been concentrating on building replacements for the Oliver Perry Class FFG’s. It took the LCS debacle for it to be realized that they should have built a new class of Frigates to begin with. Luckily, plans are now in place to do just that. My thanks go out to the men and women of the U.S. Navy who have had to endure serving on the Littorals.

  2. Send these decommissioned ships to Ukraine. They would seem to be perfect for fast coastal support of drone missions

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