Although the American people provide the U.S. Navy’s budget to construct, man, train, and equip its ships, a commissioning committee is a non-Navy function. The committee acts as a liaison between the ship and its sponsoring community in order to establish and maintain a continuing relationship between the ship and the area. Our work at the USS Cleveland Legacy Foundation will provide the Sailors of the future USS Cleveland a “margin of excellence” above and beyond the basics the military offers.
The future USS Cleveland (LCS 31) is a Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship currently being built in Marinette, Wisconsin. The fourth Navy ship in U.S. history to be named Cleveland, LCS 31 will be 378 feet long with a beam of 57 feet and displacement of 3,500 metric tons. The ship’s draft of 13 feet will allow her to travel in shallow waters for near-shore operations, while her top speed of 47 knots and range of 3,500 miles will provide remarkable capability.
The ship company is approximately 115 Sailors.
The future USS Cleveland will be assigned to Commander, Naval Surface Force Atlantic (SURFLANT) and homeported with Littoral Combat Ship Squadron (LCSRON) 2 in Mayport, Florida.
The future USS Cleveland has been assigned hull number 31 of the U.S. Navy’s littoral combat ships, making the 31 cents a memorable way to request support for our effort. Cleveland is the final Freedom-class LCS that the Navy has contracted for construction.
Although every ship has a commissioning committee and some ships receive modest support from a sponsoring entity while in service and still other ships are retired as museum vessels (rather than the traditional dispositions of being sold, scrapped, or sunk), we believe the USS Cleveland Legacy Foundation is the first organization of its kind to envision and launch a campaign to fund a multi-decade effort to sponsor and support a ship from contract through retirement and beyond. In this sense, we are “Doing What No Other City Has Done.”
The Department of the Navy projects the future USS Cleveland will be commissioned in the spring of 2025. The event will take place on the shores of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland. LCS 31 will be the first of the four ships named for our city ever to make a port call here, much less enter active service in her namesake city.
Commissioning, which officially adds a new United States Ship to the Naval Vessel Register and places the ship her in service to the Nation, will be a public event that culminates several days of celebration throughout Greater Cleveland. The ceremony, which will last approximately one hour and is full of Naval tradition and pomp, concludes when the Ship Sponsor’s gives the first order to the crew: “man our ship and bring her to life!” In addition to the official ceremony, which is expected to draw thousands of guests, the USS Cleveland Legacy Foundation is planning a variety of private and public events to recognize our supporters and engage Clevelanders from across our region.
When we began this effort, we anticipated challenges establishing a new nonprofit in a community with well established philanthropic opportunities for corporations, foundations, and individual donors. Since 2019, we have gained official nonprofit status, hired professional staff, developed a three-phase strategic plan, and secured support from our partners, who already have generously committed more than 70 percent of the Launching a Legacy campaign’s $5,000,000.31 goal. Although much work remains to navigate the remainder of Phase I and establish a robust endowment to support Phase II and III activities, we are confident our team and the Greater Cleveland community will meet and exceed all expectations.
The people of Cleveland will have the opportunity to support the crew over the projected two decades she will be in service.
- Each Sailor will have an opportunity to be adopted by a Cleveland family, company, school, church, or civic organization.
- Our Foundation will host a Thanksgiving dinner in Mayport, Florida, whenever she is at her homeport for the holiday.
- We’ll organize a Christmas toy drive for crew members’ kids.
- We’ll ship a seabag full of Cleveland swag to every new Sailor who checks in with the command.
- We’ll send care packages to the ship when she’s forward deployed around the globe.
- We’ll recognize life and career milestones like marriages, births, promotions, and retirements.