Lockheed Martin
USS Little Rock enters active service after ceremony on Buffalo River

U.S. Navy Commissions 5th Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship

By Close-Up Media Staff

The U.S. Navy commissioned USS Little Rock (LCS 9) on the Buffalo River on Dec. 16.

The milestone - the nation's fifth Freedom-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)- officially places the ship, designed and built by Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine, into active service.

According to a release, the USS Little Rock completed its acceptance trials in August and was delivered to the U.S. Navy on Sept. 25. She joins four other Freedom-variant ships in the fleet: USS Freedom (LCS 1), USS Fort Worth (LCS 3), USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) and USS Detroit (LCS 7). Collectively, Freedom-variant littoral combat ships have sailed over 250,000 nautical miles and successfully completed two overseas deployments.

"As a company with strong ties to Arkansas and Upstate New York, we are privileged to have delivered USS Little Rock to the Navy and see her commissioned in the state where so many of our employees call home," said Joe DePietro, Lockheed Martin vice president of small surface combatants and ship systems. "We take great pride in knowing that USS Little Rock and her dedicated crews will serve in the defense of our great nation, enabling the U.S. Navy to carry out its missions where and when needed for decades to come."

Named in honor of the patriotic and hardworking citizens of Little Rock, LCS 9 is the second U.S. Navy ship to bear the name of Arkansas' largest city. She will join USS Milwaukee (LCS 5) and USS Detroit (LCS 7) at Naval Station Mayport, her homeport, in a few short weeks.

"These are complex vessels, and it takes a strong team effort to design, build and prepare these warships for the fleet," said Francesco Valente, Fincantieri Marine Group president and CEO. "I am extremely proud of our entire LCS team, including our shipbuilders at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, who transformed raw American steel into the capable warship you see today."

The Lockheed Martin and Fincantieri Marinette Marine team is currently in full-rate production of the Freedom-variant of the LCS, and has delivered five ships to the U.S. Navy to date. There are eight ships in various stages of construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, with one more in long-lead production.

The Freedom-variant LCS team is comprised of Lockheed Martin, shipbuilder Fincantieri Marinette Marine, naval architect Gibbs & Cox, and more than 800 suppliers in 42 states.

The largest shipyard in the midwest, Fincantieri Marinette Marine (FMM) is located on the Menominee River flowage into Green Bay.

Gibbs & Cox is an independent maritime solutions firm specializing in naval architecture, marine engineering and design.  


  • Alexandra Scarborough
    Tea Forté Introduces ‘Matcha’ Collection

    Convenience meets tradition in Tea Forté’s new Ceremonial Matcha Bowl Set and the Matcha Single Steeps.

    The company said its spring harvested, shade grown, stone ground, organic matcha tea is best served in a centuries-old Japanese tea ceremony called chanoyu: a preparation technique known for its centering meditative qualities.

    "The launch of Tea Forté's Matcha collection represents our continued commitment to wellness and cultivating all the potential mental and physical health benefits of tea," says Tea Forté CEO Michael Gebrael. "In addition to our high quality Pure Matcha, we've also blended four distinct flavored Matcha varieties. Prepackaged in pouches measured out for a single serving, our Single Steeps Matcha is ideal for the office, travel, or to keep with you for a boost anytime."

    Tea Forté noted its handcrafted ceremonial tea bowl, handmade bamboo whisk and measuring ladle “encourages serene enjoyment of our premium Kosher, gluten-free and vegan matcha blends.” These include: Pure Matcha, Chocolate Matcha, Coconut Matcha, Ginger Matcha, and Chai Matcha.

    According to a release, in addition to its distinctive taste, matcha is prized for its health benefits. Steeped green tea contains only the antioxidants that can be extracted in water, while with matcha, the whole leaf is consumed.

    Available now in select stores and online at teaforte.com.




Expedia.com has released a year-end look at U.S. traveler behavior and trends for 2017, analyzing data to identify the most in-demand destinations, hotels, activities and more.

Among other insights, the roundup revealed:

  1. Labor Day was the busiest weekend for car rental
  2. Disney Theme Parks topped the list of things to do
  3. The average hotel stay was two nights
  4. Top destinations based on 2017 air travel included major global cities like New York, London and Bangkok
  5. Popular tourist destinations included Orlando, Cancun and Las Vegas