United States
April 22, 2023

Austal USA christens future USS Kingsville (LCS 36)

MOBILE, Ala. – Austal USA celebrated the christening of the future USS Kingsville (LCS 36) Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship in a ceremony at the company’s Gulf Coast shipyard today.  Ship sponsor Katherine L. Kline performed the ceremonial bottle break over the bow of Kingsville, the 18th LCS designed and constructed by Austal USA.

Kline is a member of the sixth generation of the King Ranch Family, decedents of Captain Richard King who founded the King Ranch located in Kingsville, Texas in 1853.  Her father, Lieutenant Commander Richard Sugden, was a Navy flight surgeon.

LCS 36 is the first U.S. Navy ship named for Kingsville. The town, born from the need for an efficient railroad service connecting Brownsville, Texas to St. Louis, Mo., was founded in 1904, after Captain King’s wife, Henrietta, deeded 40,000 acres from the King Ranch to be available for the development of the Kingsville townsite.  The Kingsville community remains vital to the agribusiness of south Texas and maintains a special relationship with Naval Air Station Kingsville.

“It is an honor and privilege to serve as the sponsor of the future USS Kingsville,” stated Kline. “I am so proud of the significant role that the namesake city has played in our nation’s security throughout its long history. I know the ship will carry that legacy of service forward as she and her crew enter the fleet to proudly serve our Navy and our Nation.”

The ceremony was widely attended by community and Navy leaders, Austal USA shipbuilders, and the ship’s commanding officer Cmdr. Ludwig Mann III.

“It is said that a ship’s sponsor infuses her spirit into each new ship, providing her strength and inspiration to those who serve aboard her throughout the ship’s service life,” stated Austal USA President Rusty Murdaugh. “We know that Katherine will do a great job as sponsor of Kingsville but also know that the pride and values of those who worked so hard to build her, have laid a solid foundation for her to build upon.”

Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ships are fast, optimally-manned, mission-tailored surface combatants that operate in near-shore and open-ocean environments, winning against 21st-century coastal threats.

Kingsville is planned for delivery in early 2024 and will be homeported in San Diego, Calif., where Austal USA will have the capability to dry-dock and provide lifecycle sustainment support for the Independence-variant ship class and other similar sized ships at its waterfront repair facility.

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