It was a historic day in Buffalo as the USS Little Rock pulled into Canalside. The arrival was announced with the AC/DC song, “Back in Black” booming from the ship’s PA system. Commander Todd Peters said that the song represented the ship’s motto, ‘back with a vengeance.’
This is the first time in the 242 history of the Navy that a combat ship will be commissioned next to its namesake ship. Mayor Byron Brown gleamed as he spoke of his morning adventure on a Coast Guard boat that met the Little Rock in Lake Erie. Brown said that this is a once in a lifetime, historic opportunity for our community, and that residents should soak in this momentous event.
Daniel Mecca, Vice President of the Little Rock Commissioning Committee, ran the press conference yesterday afternoon, where attendees such as Mayor Byron Brown, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Senator Chris Jacobs, Senator Tim Kennedy, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn and many more were in attendance. Mecca stated that their motto in bringing this effort to fruition is, “’Two great cities, one great ship,’ which is a reference to the city of Little Rock, Ak. We share the pride and excitement on this day with our counterparts in Little Rock and their namesake committee. Their help and support have been invaluable in our efforts.”
^ Video featuring Daniel Mecca, from the USS Little Rock organizing committee
The soon to be commissioned combat ship is 389-foot long, as compared to the original USS Little Rock, which is 610 feet long. Built in Marinette, Wisconsin, it sports a helicopter pad, a small boat ramp and can be utilized by small assault forces. As well, it can reach speeds up to 45 knots and navigate in waters as shallow as 13.5 feet, enabling to accomplish varied missions, from dispatching unmanned crafts to detonate mines or to deliver Navy seals to onshore military actions. The current Little Rock accommodates a crew of 72 sailors, whereas its predecessor contained more than 1400 crew members.
Commandor of the Little Rock, Todd Peters, spoke of the huge efforts on behalf of his crew while stationed in Wisconsin and said that they are looking forward to their time here in Buffalo.
Western New Yorkers can partake in the week-long celebration, which will take place from December 8th through the 17th, 2017, at Canalside. The actual commissioning ceremony that takes place on December 16th is currently sold out.
^Video of ship arriving by Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park.