SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – “Thank you, thank you very much,” said U.S.N. Capt. Randy Malone.
With those words and some United States Navy pomp and circumstance, the USS Sioux City recently
One crew leaving the ship another taking control of the $362 million vessel.
“Couldn’t ask for a better ship and better process. Everything I expected and more,” added former USS Sioux City Commander Randy Malone.
“On a minimally manned ship, it’s really one team one fight. We refer to the blue and gold crew but we say team Sioux City,” says USS Sioux City Commander Kevin O’Brien.
It could be a year before the Sioux City sails to its first mission. More systems testing and qualifications are ahead. Like all east coast based littoral combat ships, the Sioux City calls Naval Station Mayport home.
Located just off the Atlantic Ocean, near Jacksonville, Florida, Mayport has grown to become the third largest fleet concentration area in the U-S.
“It’s the best-kept secret in the Navy. Used to be at any rate. When I got here in ’71 they told me I had orders to Mayport and I thought what in the world is Mayport Florida,” says Port Master Robert Reeder.
Port Master Robert Reeder has called Mayport home for nearly 5 decades. “You’re close to Disney World and everywhere else. We like to call it the port of choice. Everybody in the Navy wants to go to Mayport,” added Reeder.
From end to end, Mayport covers about 2 and a half miles and is home to 17 warships.
In all, it’s port can accommodate 34 ships including aircraft carriers. Three helicopter squadrons and 10,600 sailors and Dept. of Defense employees also call Mayport home.
” We’re the home, the east coast home for all ported LCS ships. The face of Mayport is changing as we get more LCS ship here,” said Public Affairs Officer Bill Austin. What makes this place truly special is the way the USS Sioux City and a growing number of LCS vessels are protecting our nation.
“You come in on Monday morning ask who has the key. Get the key and push a button and if you’re getting underway at 9, you’ll see smoke out of the stacks at 8:30 when they light the engines off and go to sea,” says Reeder. Reeder says if something were to spark in South Africa or the Caribean, Naval Station Mayport is positioned for military action.
” You’ve got ships sitting here. You hit the button and be down there in 24-36 hours. If something happens, we’re Johnny on the spot so to speak,” added Reeder. “There’s something very special about Naval Station Mayport,” said Austin.
Home to our namesake ship.