Sleek. Agile. And Fast.
Those words perfectly describe the USS Milwaukee (LCS 5), the nation's fifth littoral combat ship that entered the Navy fleet when it wascommissioned in Milwaukee on November 21. They also describe another sleek machine: the one-of-a-kind Harley-Davidson Softail Slim S motorcycle, built on behalf of Lockheed Martin to honor the U.S. Navy and the city of Milwaukee.
The motorcycle was unveiled at the Harley-Davidson’s Milwaukee headquarters and was on display during the commissioning ceremony. Joe North, vice president of Littoral Ships and Systems, joined Harley-Davidson’s Chief Stylist Ray Drea and Kelly Hruska of the National Military Families Association (NMFA).
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After showcasing the motorcycle at various U.S. Navy, industry and STEM events over the next year, Lockheed Martin will donate it to the NMFA, an MST National Military Partner, which will conduct a charity auction to support its programs for military families.
“Teaming with Harley-Davidson makes so much sense in so many ways,” said Dale Bennett, executive vice president of Mission Systems and Training. “Harley-Davidson’s mission is to fulfill dreams of personal freedom. Lockheed Martin is helping our U.S. Navy protect those freedoms around the world by delivering the USS Milwaukee.”
Drea’s custom-designed motorcycle includes features crafted to catch the eye of the most seasoned sailor. Recognized for his creative style and attention to detail, Drea visited the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard earlier this year to tour the facility, talk with employees and meet the ship’s crew. He received a personal walk-through of the Milwaukee by the ship’s commanding officer, CMDR. Kendall Bridgewater.
“It was truly inspiring to see the precision craftsmanship and innovation that goes into building the LCS right here in Wisconsin,” Drea said.
Among the custom style details:
- The model: the Softail Slim model is reminiscent of Harley-Davidson’s World War II-era motorcycles.
- The paint: the Battleship-gray paint was taken from a paint sample used for Navy ships.
- The logos: the “USN” logo is featured on the side of the fuel tank, alongside the Harley–Davidson medallion. The official LCS logo appears on the rear fender and the USS Milwaukee crest is showcased on the front fender.
- The black anodized billet intake is modeled from the speaker system on Navy ships.
- The Blacked out components replace chromed out parts.
“Ray’s appreciation for the ship, her crew and the men and women who made her are evident in the motorcycle’s incredible detail,” Bennett said. “He truly captured the essence of the USS Milwaukee in everything he did.”
Bennett, a proud Harley-Davidson owner, said the two companies share much in common.
“For over 100 years, Lockheed Martin and Harley-Davidson have led their industries with a rich history of innovation and unwavering customer focus,” Bennett said. “We’re excited to partner with them to honor this great ship and brave crew. We’re also proud that it will help the NMFA continue the tremendous work they do to support military families.”