Austal USA christens final Independence-variant LCS, USS Pierre

Written by Nick Blenkey
Woman breaks bottle on USS Pierre side

Ship sponsor Larissa Thune Hargens executed the ceremonial bottle break over the bow of Pierre[Photo: Austal USA]

Austal USA has celebrated the christening of the company’s 19th Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) – the future USS Pierre (LCS 38). Ship sponsor Larissa Thune Hargens executed the ceremonial bottle break over the bow of Pierre, witnessed by an audience of over four hundred guests.

Hargens, the daughter of U.S. Senator John Thune (R.-SD), is a native of South Dakota, She graduated from Bethel University, in Saint Paul, Minn., with a bachelor’s degree in political science and history. Since graduating, Hargens has held several positions with the University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota and currently owns her own LLC, Red Writer, where she does freelance marketing and social media.

Key speakers at the ceremony included Vice Admiral Francis Morley, Principal Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy ; Rear Admiral Thomas Anderson, Program Executive Office Ships; Senator Thune and Austal USA president Michelle Kruger.

“One of my proudest moments since joining Austal USA, was looking out into the audience today and seeing the many talented Austal USA employees and other Navy and industry guests who are responsible for the success of the LCS program,” said Kruger. “Austal USA has grown from a small commercial shipyard to a large, advanced defense ship manufacturer primarily thanks to the Indy-variant LCS program. Christening this ship, the last Austal USA built LCS, makes me a bit nostalgic but I know, for this company and the great team we’ve assembled, the future is bright and limitless.”

LCS 38 is the second ship named in honor of the capital city of South Dakota. The first USS Pierre, a World War II PC class submarine chaser, was commissioned in 1943 and decommissioned in 1958. Pierre (LCS 38) is the last Independence-variant LCS to be christened. Following delivery, it will join its sister ships homeported in San Diego and deploying to the INDO-PACOM region.

“It is truly an honor for PEO USC to have led the construction of this remarkable class of ships,” said Rear Adm. Kevin Smith, Program Executive Officer, Unmanned and Small Combatants (PEO USC). “Built by an industry team lead by Austal USA, the Littoral Combat Ship stands as a testament to our unwavering commitment to innovation and excellence in naval shipbuilding. As we christen the USS Pierre, we also celebrate the extraordinary crews that will sail this ship, employing the capabilities and versatility of the Littoral Combat Ship class, which will continue to play a pivotal role in safeguarding our nation’s interests now and for years to come.”

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