On Saturday, the US Navy commissioned its newest warship, the USS Omaha. The fourth naval vessel to bear that name, the Omaha is a 218-foot littoral combat ship built by Austal USA in Mobile, AL. The ship, which will call San Diego home, was sponsored by Omaha-based philanthropist Susie Buffett, daughter of billionaire Warren Buffett, who also calls Omaha home.
The aluminum vessel was built to carry out operations in shallower water than other massive ships in the Naval fleet and will also be used for anti-submarine and anti-mine duty to help make the waters safer for the rest of the ships in the area.
Along with the Buffetts, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts and Omaha Mayer Jean Stothert attended the ceremony, where Susie Buffett gave the command for the crew to “Man our ship and bring her to life,” after which the crew ran aboard the ship and set about bringing her out to sea.
“She is a beautiful ship,” said Commander Michael Toth, the Omaha’s commanding officer. “To be at her helm is more akin to flying an aircraft with a pilot and a co-pilot than to conning a traditional warship.”
Governor Ricketts had the unique honor of designating the entire crew as “admirals in the great Navy of the state of Nebraska”. With the state being landlocked, the humor was not lost on those on hand for the commissioning. “I am proud to share our name, our heritage and our community values with USS Omaha and its commander, and we wish you safety on your missions,” Mayor Stothert added.
With the Omaha being based in Speed Society’s home city, San Diego, we will be seeing her often in the port. It’s always a breathtaking moment seeing our military vessels docked here, as well as sharing the city with so many of our men and women in uniform.