After 15 locks, four Great Lakes, five port visits, and 3,500 nautical miles traveled, the Freedom-variant littoral combat ship Pre-commissioning (PCU) unit Cooperstown (LCS 23) arrived at its homeport, Mayport, Florida Nov. 20, 2022. Prior to beginning their transit, the crew certified in several mission areas required to safely operate and get underway including: cyber, comms, deck, medical, search and rescue and navigation. Each evolution, although involving different departments on the ship, required careful coordination and support from each division and Sailor onboard and was necessary for the crew to be able to set sail from Marinette, Wisconsin to Mayport, Florida.
“I’m extremely proud of my all-star crew, the Heavy Hitters. The crew’s professionalism, drive, and approach to service continue to motivate me every day,” said Cmdr. Evan Wright, commanding officer of PCU Cooperstown.
“The entire crew of Cooperstown to include our temporary assigned Shipmates and civilian team mates were fully engaged in all aspects of making this a successful sail-around. I am extremely proud to be a “Heavy Hitter”, and look forward to continuing to protect and serve our Great Nation’s waterways alongside the amazing Sailors onboard Warship 23,” said Command Senior Chief Keona M. Johnson.
As the ship began its transit eastward, PCU Cooperstown stopped in Cleveland, Ohio, Quebec City, Quebec, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Newport, Rhode Island, and Norfolk, Virginia for refueling, stores replenishment and their Force Protection Exercise. While in Cleveland, the crew had the opportunity to visit MLB Guardian’s Stadium where the crew was presented a bust of Baseball Hall Fame Veteran and Cleveland native Bob Feller to place in their Chief Petty Officer mess. Bob Feller was a Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy during World War II and is one of the Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans the ship is named after.
USS Cooperstown (LCS-23) is a Freedom-class littoral combat ship of the United States Navy. She is the first naval ship named after Cooperstown, New York. Ray Mabus, while Secretary of the Navy, announced the naming of Cooperstown on 25 July 2015 during a ceremony at the Baseball Hall of Fame, which is located in Cooperstown. The announcement was part of the ceremony which was honoring baseball players who served in World War II. Her name honors American military veterans from multiple conflicts (starting with Morgan Bulkeley, first president of the National League, in the Civil War) who are members of the Baseball Hall of Fame.