USS Pierre

A photo of an Independence Variant Littoral Combat ship. (Submitted) 

The Navy’s getting a new ship, and its name is Pierre. Our Pierre, to be exact. In a press release sent out Tuesday morning, it was announced that the Navy’s newest Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship will bear the name of our capitol.

Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer chose the name, and the irony of naming a sea-going vessel after the land-locked capitol of a land-locked state was not lost on Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), who first made the announcement.

“While we are about as far away from an ocean as you can get,” Rounds said in the press release, “South Dakotans have a long history of service to the Navy… South Dakota citizens are proud supporters of our military and we are thrilled to have USS Pierre join the Navy’s fleet.”

Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) like the USS Pierre (LCS 38) were designed by Australian shipbuilding company Austal to act as multipurpose warships in littoral, or close-to-shore, environments. According to the press release, the USS Pierre will be built by Austal in Mobile, Alabama, and will measure 419 feet from stern to bow on a good day.

Interestingly, the USS Pierre (LCS 38) is the second Navy ship named after Pierre. The first, according to the naval history archive NavSource, was the USS Pierre (PC-1141), which was first commissioned in 1943 in New Orleans. It was decommissioned in 1958 and sold to the Indonesian Navy, where it was re-named the R. L. Tiakalang.

Pierre Mayor Steve Harding said he hopes the capitol’s people take pride in both ships which bear their town’s name.

“This ship, once it’s commissioned,” Harding said, “will represent Pierre worldwide... I hope the whole community can get behind it.”

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