• Fifth warship of its kind to join Mayport Naval Station

    By: Action News Jax , Alicia Taracon


    The USS Wichita is now the fifth littoral warship of its kind to join the fleet stationed at Mayport Naval Station. 

    It was commissioned Saturday morning in front of hundreds of people as more than 70 sailors will now call Jacksonville home. 

    The newly commissioned ship will act as a training ground for sailors and has the ability to detect and neutralize mines. 

    The Wichita crew members told Action News Jax they’re excited to show the public what they can do.  

    “Let them see exactly what we’re capable of and come in get a slice of the life of a sailor,” said culinary specialist first class Thomas Hallberg. 

    The ship bears the motto “keeper of the sea,” and it’s the third combat ship to be named Wichita, after the largest city in Kansas. 

    Everyone on board has a specific duty. 

    "I’m the navigator aboard Wichita so anytime we get underway with the assistance of my team we’ll look at the charts to make sure we can get safely from one place to another,” said L.t. j.g. John Frey. 

    Hallberg is from Iowa and he’s spent 12 years in the Navy. 

    He said his job is making sure his crew is fed. 

    “Everything from Taco Tuesday, where you will have an option between chicken and beef tacos, of course, carne asada," he said. 

    Hallberg said he and his wife couldn’t be happier about making Jacksonville their new home. 

    “We’d like to set some roots down in here and get a home. It’s a wonderful community down here in Jacksonville,” said Hallberg. 

    Although the USS Wichita is not scheduled for deployment, the ship will stand by, ready for when it may be called on to defend the country. 

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