Tester, Baucus announce USS Billings

Senators say new Navy ship will launch in 2017

(U.S. SENATE) – Senators Jon Tester and Max Baucus today announced that one of the newest U.S. Navy ships will be named after Montana’s Magic City.

The USS Billings will be a Littoral Combat Ship. According to the Navy, Littoral Combat Ships are fast, agile warships that conduct missions close to the shore such as mine, anti-submarine, and surface warfare.

“Along with Billings and all of Montana, I’m pleased the Navy will be naming a ship after the Magic City,” Tester said. “Montanans proudly serve in every branch of the military, including the Navy, and today’s announcement recognizes their sacrifices and those of their families.”

“Montanans volunteer for service at one of the highest rates in the country,” Baucus said. “Duty and patriotism are part of who we are, and I am proud to see our Montana service members honored in such a special way. Congratulations to Billings!”

Tester said he will continue pushing the Navy to name a naval vessel after Montana. The Big Sky State is the only state in the country never to have a naval vessel named after it.

Montana came close on two occasions. In 1906, a ship was christened as the USS Montana only to be renamed later. During World War II, a keel was laid for a new USS Montana, but the war’s end meant the ship was never built.

The USS Billings will be nearly 400 feet long and travel at speeds greater than 40 knots. The Navy expects to begin production of the ship in August, 2014 and deliver it by July, 2017.