US Navy ship called Canberra to be commissioned in Sydney

The future USS Canberra (LCS 30) will be commissioned into the US Navy active fleet on 22 July with a ceremony at the Royal Australian Navy Fleet Base East in Sydney, Australia.

CAPTION: Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Canberra (LCS 30) departs San Diego for a routine underway off the California coast. Story by Chief Petty Officer Julio Rivera. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Mark D. Faram.

The commissioning will be the US Navy’s first first ceremony in a foreign port – and the only ship in the US Navy named for a non-US capital city. It will also be the second US Navy ship to bear the name Canberra in the US fleet.

US Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro said he could think of no better way to signify the USA’s enduring partnership with Australia than celebrating the newest US Navy warship named for Australia’s capital city, and commissioning her in Royal Australian Navy Fleet Base East surrounded by many of the Australian ships the US has worked alongside for years.

“I look forward to this momentous day for the ship, crew, sponsor and all our partners in government and industry who worked tirelessly to give the future USS Canberra the celebration it deserves,” SECNAV Del Toro said.

Australian Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond said the historic event encapsulated both the depth of the historic ties, and modern-day partnership between the Royal Australian Navy and the US Navy.

“This is a unique demonstration of respect by the USA for the officers and sailors of the Royal Australian Navy,” Vice Admiral Hammond said.

“It is an opportunity to reflect on our shared history, and on a friendship forged while fighting side-by-side.

“On 9 August 1942 the Royal Australian Navy heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra was severely damaged off Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, while protecting US Marines fighting ashore.

“In a surprise attack by a powerful Japanese naval force, Canberra was hit 24 times in less than two minutes and 84 of her crew were killed, including Captain Frank Getting.

“I look forward to welcoming the US Navy and the crew of USS Canberra to Australia, and we are honoured to host the US Navy’s first international commissioning.

“It will be an historic event to see the USS Canberra and HMAS Canberra alongside each other in Sydney.”

The first USS Canberra (CA-70/CAG-2) was named at the direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in honor of the Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra for the ship’s courageous actions during the Battle of Savo Island that took place from 7 to 9 August 1942.

The new Baltimore-class heavy cruiser was renamed Canberra from Pittsburgh on 16 October 1942, and was commissioned on 14 October 1943.

The future USS Canberra will soon begin its transit to Australia, making stops in Indo-Pacific nations before arriving in Sydney for commissioning.

A visit to the Australian capital city of Canberra is planned the day after commissioning, continuing the US Navy tradition of building a strong relationship with namesake communities.

The ship’s sponsor is former Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator Marise Payne who attended the ship’s keel-laying ceremony in Mobile, Alabama in 2020.

The ship was christened on 5 June 2021, by Alison Petchell, the Australian Government’s Defence Assistant Secretary for Industrial Capability Planning in the Nuclear Submarines Taskforce and former ministerial counsellor for defence materiel, on behalf of Senator Payne.

The ship arrived for the first time at its homeport of San Diego last year.

The first USS Canberra (CA-70) was sponsored by Lady Alice C. Dixon, wife of Sir Owen Dixon, then Australian Minister to the United States.

Following World War II, USS Canberra was placed out of commission and in reserve on 7 March 1947.

Five years later, the ship was selected to be the US Navy’s second guided missile cruiser and re-commissioned on 15 June 1956, as guided missile heavy cruiser CAG-2.

With its new designation, Canberra transported President Dwight D. Eisenhower and later was the ceremonial flagship for the selection of the Unknown Serviceman of both World War II and Korea interned at Arlington National Cemetery, was the Commander of the Atlantic Fleet Cruiser Force flagship, conducted an around-the-globe goodwill cruise, provided medical assistance to the crew of the Turkish merchantman Mehmet Ipar, was the Commander Task Group 136.1 flagship that was charged with maintaining a blockade during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and served in Korea and Vietnam.

To highlight the ship’s role in naval-gunfire support following operations in Vietnam, Canberra was re-designated to original classification and identification number CA-70 on 1 May 1968.

USS Canberra received seven battle stars for her service in World War II.

She was finally decommissioned on 2 February 1970, and was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 31 July 1978.

The future USS Canberra is the 16th Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship commissioned by the US Navy.

LCSs are designed to be fast, optimally-manned, mission-tailored, surface combatants that operate in both littoral and open-ocean environments.

LCSs integrate with joint, combined, crewed and unmanned systems to support forward presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence missions around the globe.

The future USS Canberra was built by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama.





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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

5 thoughts on “US Navy ship called Canberra to be commissioned in Sydney

  • 18/07/2023 at 9:51 am

    USS Canberra is currently arriving in Sydney, accompanied by HMAS Canberra.

    • 18/07/2023 at 2:52 pm

      Hi Tony. Did you happen to snap a photo or two (even on your phone?)

  • 23/05/2023 at 4:58 pm

    Will the USS Canberra commissioning ceremony, be open to the public, or for general viewing on 22 July?

    • 23/05/2023 at 6:19 pm

      Hi Dennis,
      I have asked for details and will pass them on when I hear back.


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