JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Dozens of local families welcomed home their loved ones just in time for the holidays with the arrival of the U.S.S. Marinette on Monday.
The littoral combat ship arrived at Naval Station Mayport for the first time and is brand new, as it’s the first ship to come to the base after a major engine issue decommissioned 4 Mayport ships.
The sailor’s loved ones will get to see them for the holidays now that the ship has been delivered to its new home port.
In 2015, Action News Jax’s John Bachman went to Marinette shipyard, which the ship is named after, to see the first Mayport littoral combat ships being built.
Action News Jax has followed the build-out and the following budget battle over the ships in the 8 years since then.
Bachman was the only local reporter invited onboard 5the U.S.S. Little Rock for an overnight trial run in December 2019. He heard the engine failure announcements, and a few months later during its first deployment, the Little Rock had to be brought back for engine issues.
The reason: a problem combining diesel and gas engines. That is a problem the Navy says cost between $8 million to $10 million to fix on the ships already built, and it’s a cost it’s splitting with the company that built the ships.
However, that increased cost and a debate about the LCS program’s effectiveness put the ships in the budget-cut crosshairs.
That brings us to Tuesday when the U.S.S. Marinette became the first littoral combat ship delivered to Mayport with that engine fix already incorporated.
The Navy and critics will be watching the Marinette to see how it does.
Meanwhile, the U.S.S. Little Rock is one of 4 Mayport ships that didn’t survive budget cuts. They’re being decommissioned.
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