Tulsa: Namesake of a ship of the line once again

Tulsa:  Namesake of a ship of the line once again

Having served aboard a ship of the line during my first enlistment in the U.S. Navy, names of sister vessels have stuck in my memory.  I served aboard a Charles F. Adams class guided missile destroyer for roughly two and a half years.  These and other small combatant vessels of that era known as frigates and several later class cruisers were mostly named after Americans who were decorated military heroes, great naval officers and stellar public servants.  Back then amphibious vessels were named after U.S. cities and towns along with WWII vintage and early to mid-Cold War era cruisers.  The last vessel named for my hometown was a 1920’s era patrol gunboat which had sail power for backup propulsion, USS Tulsa (PG-22)That vessel was decommissioned in 1946 and the order for the next vessel slated to bear the name, a cruiser, was cancelled after the surrender of Japan.

USS Tulsa (PG-22)

As naval warfare strategy, engineering and ship design evolve to accommodate the challenges of a new era, an entire new class of warship has been produced to meet them.  The new class of warship is a trimaran hull design with a shallow draft intended to operate in coastal waters.  The 16th vessel of this innovated new ship type will bear the name the second largest city in Oklahoma.  USS Tulsa (LCS-16) is currently under construction and slated to be commissioned early in 2017.  Based on what I have learned about it thus far, I can see this as tax money well spent in defense of the Republic.

Class and type: Independence-class littoral combat ship
Displacement: 2,307 metric tons light, 3,104 metric tons full, 797 metric tons deadweight
Length: 127.4 m (418 ft)
Beam: 31.6 m (104 ft)
Draft: 14 ft (4.27 m)
Propulsion: 2× gas turbines, 2× diesel, 4× waterjets, retractable Azimuth thruster, 4× diesel generators
Speed: 40 knots (74 km/h; 46 mph)+, 47 knots (54 mph; 87 km/h) sprint
Range: 4,300 nautical miles (8,000 km; 4,900 mi) at 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph)+
Capacity: 210 tonnes
Complement: 40 core crew (8 officers, 32 enlisted) plus up to 35 mission crew
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Sea Giraffe 3D Surface/Air RADAR
  • Bridgemaster-E Navigational RADAR
  • AN/KAX-2 EO/IR sensor for GFC
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
  • EDO ES-3601 ESM
  • SRBOC rapid bloom chaff launchers
Aircraft carried:

 Tulsa as a namesake

Yesterday, Yours Truly was able to attend the unveiling of the model of the new USS Tulsa at the Tulsa Historical Society.  The ship’s sponsor, former Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor, along a few other local dignitaries were on hand for the model unveiling.  It is truly an honor to have a ship of the line named for our city.  In terms of the U.S. defense arsenal, combatant vessels are big ticket items.  If history is our guide, we taxpayers will likely get some thirty years of service or longer out of this new addition to the fleet.  As one who is some eighteen years removed from active duty, it is hard to get used to seeing fleet sailors wearing cammies, 400+ foot combatant ships with complements of less than 50, and a vast array of new Navy rates which are comprised of two merged old rates.  I did meet one of the local US Naval Reserve Center station keepers who is a Personnel Specialist (PS).  She explained her rate as a combination of the old Disbursing Clerk (DK) and the old Personnelman (PN).  It has been some nineteen years since the last time I was underway on a ship of the U.S. Navy and even then I thought the fleet had changed radically from my first hitch.  Believe me, I had no idea.  As far as this new ship bearing our city’s name goes, say what you will about the design of the trimaran Independence Class LCS.  You do however have to admit is is more aesthetically pleasing than the new guided missile destroyer that is the Zumwalt Class.

Littoral Combat Ship

I am glad to have attended this event.  I did meet old friends from my local Naval Reserve days, namely my old training officer who retired at the rank of Rear Admiral and my old unit’s legal officer who is now a retired local judge.  It was also nice to see the active duty station keepers, new uniforms notwithstanding.  It is fair to say that the sailor may leave the Navy, but the Navy will never leave the sailor.  I look back on my years of service fondly, especially the relatively few I actually spent serving aboard that DDG in then 3rd and 7th Fleet.  I am also proud to have a ship of the line named for my hometown once again, along this the most celebrated stretch of Old Route 66!

USS Tulsa ball cap


  1. Route66Kid
    Oct 8, 2016

    They had swag at the event. I did purchase a USS Tulsa ball cap, which is pictured in the post. I’m sure there are still some available for $25 apiece. The email of the USS Tulsa Commissioning Committee is usstulsa@gmail.com.

  2. Tony O'seland
    Oct 5, 2016

    I think it is wonderful that we finally have our own ship. Are there “collectables” available yet, and if so, where could we get them? I’m waiting for the LCS class to become a model kit so I can add the Tulsa to my archives.