The USS Little Rock, the nation’s ninth Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), is having a moment. Not only does she carry the name of Arkansas’ capital city, but she is carrying on a tradition of the fleet and flexible combat ship. Her predecessor, a US Navy Cleveland-class light cruiser, was born in June 1945 and was converted to a Galveston-class guided missile cruiser in June 1960. Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, served on the original Little Rock, in 1971 and 1972, as a brand new officer. Here, we find the similarities between ships and shipmate:

USS Little Rock
(CL-92/CLG-4/ CG-4)
Secretary of the US
Navy Ray Mabus
Littoral Combat Ship
USS Little Rock

When the original USS Little Rock was re-commissioned in 1960, she was the first guided missile cruiser in the US Navy fleet.
When he was inaugurated in Mississippi on January 12, 1988, Ray Mabus was the youngest governor in the U.S. This will be the first of an eventual eight Freedom-class Littoral Combat ships to be homeported in Mayport, Florida.
Cruise Crews
Home to a crew of nearly 1,000 sailors. Ray Mabus is married with a crew of three daughters.

Manned by a crew of fewer than 100 sailors operating under a concept known as the “3-2-1 plan”: The Navy will rotate three crews for every two ships, keeping one of those ships underway at all times. The LCS will have a core crew of about 50 sailors, then a specialized crew for each type of mission.
When the CL-92 sailed in 1945, no one could have imagined that in just over a decade, she (or the world) would change so dramatically. The strength and capacity of the Little Rock’s hull and durability of her equipment made her the ideal vessel for a nuclear age. The change to her configuration took nearly ten years. When she re-emerged as CLG-4, the Little Rock was the flagship of the Sixth Fleet. She was deployed to the Mediterranean and was on duty when war started in the Middle East in 1967.

Secretary Mabus graduated summa cum laude from the University of Mississippi, holds a Master’s in political science from Johns Hopkins University and his law degree (earned with magna cum laude) from Harvard University. He has served in the US Navy, governed the state of Mississippi (after having been the state’s auditor), he’s a distinguished lecturer at the University of Mississippi, appeared on television (as an actor and a Naval expert), launched charities to support children affected by Hurricane Katrina, AND he is a talented photographer who has documented his world travels in pictures.
The Littoral Combat Ship is the model of modularity. The Little Rock will be a launch pad for aircraft (manned and unmanned) and unmanned surface and underwater vehicles. Depending on her mission package (which requires only a 3-day turnaround), the ship can conduct anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare, or mine countermeasures missions. The Little Rock has a built-in capacity for growth, with sensor packages and equipment designed using open architecture and already linked to a vast network across the US Navy fleet.
Star Turn

In 1967, the Little Rock went hose-to-hose-to-hose in a historic, simultaneous, at-sea refueling in the Mediterranean. She and her sister-ship, the USS Springfield, were refueled by the Feet Oiler USS Chikaskia (AO-54).

“Commence Air Operations!” Ray Mabus’s single spoken line in the 2012 film Battleship, where he played the role of the fictional ship’s commanding officer. He also made a cameo in a recent episode of the TNT television series “The Last Ship.” More than 1.2 million YouTube viewers watched the LCS 7, USS Detroit, as she took her first plunge in Marinette, Wisconsin’s, Menominee River, in October 2014.
Measuring Up
The ship is 610 feet long with a beam of 66 feet and 10,000 metric ton displacement. Draft is 20 feet and her top speed was 33 knots. Mabus joined the Naval ROTC program while an undergraduate at the University of Mississippi, and served as a as a surface warfare officer on the USS Little Rock (CLG 4) in 1971 and 1972.

Freedom-class ships are 378.5 feet long with a 57.4-foot beam and have 3,000 metric tons displacement (with a full load). Draft is 12.8 feet and top speed exceeds 40 knots.
East Coast connection

The Little Rock spent the better part of two years conducting training missions in the Caribbean Sea.
Secretary Mabus’s first job in Washington, DC, was as legal counsel to the U.S. House Agriculture Committee. The USS Little Rock begins her operational life on the Atlantic Coast of Florida.