After just seven years, the Navy decommissioned the third littoral combat ship of the Freedom-class from service.

In a solemn ceremony last week, the United States Navy decommissioned the littoral combat ship USS Milwaukee (LCS-5), marking the end of a brief yet eventful chapter in its maritime history. The decision to retire the vessel, which had served for a mere seven years, resulted from persistent issues that had plagued it for a mere twenty days after its commissioning.

The Navy’s announcement of this early decommissioning was closely followed by plans to retire nine other littoral combat vessels, all linked to a defect involving their combining gears. As the third and latest of the Navy’s decommissioned Freedom-class ships, the USS Milwaukee’s retirement echoes a broader narrative of challenges and accomplishments.

Navigating Early Challenges: The USS Milwaukee’s Troubled Start

Commander Jason Knox led the decommissioning ceremony, taking a moment to reflect on the ship’s contributions to the Navy’s growth and safety efforts.

“Throughout the life of the ship,” Cmdr. Knox remarked, “the Sailors that sailed Milwaukee led the way in training and operations that led to fleet improvements and culminated with operational success.”

The USS Milwaukee (LCS-5) held a unique distinction as the fifth United States Navy warship named after the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, proudly representing its community. However, the ship’s journey was marred by challenges from the outset.

decommissioning ceremony
(Image source: DVIDS)

Just twenty days after its commissioning in 2015, the LCS-5 suffered propulsion issues that necessitated a tow of more than 40 nautical miles to Virginia for repairs. Despite these early setbacks, the combat vessel found its purpose in testing anti-submarine tactics, focusing on deterrence and maritime security.

One of its notable achievements was the seizure of an estimated $27.4 million worth of cocaine during interdiction missions in March, which also led to the detention of three individuals. These accomplishments underscore the ship’s versatility and commitment to fulfilling its mission.