- Video shows the sights and sounds of the ceremony, including thoughts of its first commanding officer
- The commissioning ceremony of the USS Marinette marked its entry into active service of the United States Navy
- The Marinette is a 387-foot littoral combat ship built, christened and now commissioned in the twin cities of the Menominee River
- A crowd of thousands toured the ship after the ceremony
(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)
The USS Marinette is just the third ship in US naval history to be built and commissioned in the town after which it's named. I'm Karl Winter in Menominee, Michigan, and if you're wondering what commissioning means, it's when this ship, which spans over a football field, joins the active fleet of the United States Navy.
The commissioning ceremony has all the pomp and circumstance expected of a military event — and some Wisconsin and Michigan flair, as Congressman Mike Gallagher and US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm both say the ship will take on the hard-working spirit of those who built it, right on the Menominee River.
"In Marinette, building warships is a family affair," Rep. Gallagher said.
"I'm particularly proud that she's named after a great city in a great region, forged by Cheeseheads and Yoopers," Secretary Granholm said.
Shane Brewer and his crew now take full command of the combat ship, which can reach top speeds of more than 40 knots — nearly 50 miles per hour.
"This ship is fast, lethal, and we are ready to carry out all the orders promoting peace and stability around the world," Commander Brewer said.
Brewer, a first-time commanding officer, nearly broke down in tears when telling his mother he had achieved a dream — 30 years after he first enlisted.
"I bet you anything you never thought this would happen, after high school when she dropped me off at the recruiting office," Commander Brewer said.
For Northern Wisconsinites Melinda and Susan, who have a close relative in the Navy, the ceremony also hit close to home.
"I think it's great that the public is allowed to be involved," Melinda Zeits said.
"Being a Navy mom, there's moms out there that will grasp onto anything that involves their sailors," Susan Kuklinski said.
The third naval ship bearing the name "Marinette," and first active one since 2005, will now set sail.
"I hereby place United States ship 'Marinette' in commission."
The ship will take its maiden voyage down to Florida for its final qualifications next month. And when it does, Commander Brewer hopes it will take on the adaptability and pioneering spirit of its namesake town of Marinette.