The commissioning of the USS Detroit warship on Saturday will be extra special for Petty Officer 1C Matthew Harkless.
"I am from Detroit, and I am on the USS Detroit," said Harkless, 26. "And I think it's one of my proudest moments in my Navy career so far."
He grew up in Pontiac, graduated from Rochester High School and joined the U.S. Navy a short time later, in 2008. His service has taken him as far as Singapore, and he's an electrician on the innovative new warship docked at the Detroit riverfront.
Photos: On board the USS Detroit
The Free Press spoke with Harkless about the ship Thursday during a tour with Cmdr. Michael Desmond. About 70 crew members are on the ship that traveled from Wisconsin, where it was built, across the Great Lakes to arrive Oct. 14 in Detroit. After a series of tours, the ship is to be commissioned Saturday then move next week to spend four days across the Detroit River at Windsor, Ontario.
The warship will be based out of Mayport, Fla., where it will be part of the Atlantic Fleet, according to the U.S. Navy.
Highlights on the tour included the pilot house, where touchscreens are among equipment used to control the 3,300-ton warship powered by waterjets that displace enough water to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in 20 seconds, according to Lockeed Martin, the ship's primary contractor. Desmond said the ship's 57mm gun mounted on the deck has a range as far as 5 to 6 miles.
More details on the USS Detroit are available at http://ussdetroitlcs7.com/
USS Detroit Commissioning Ceremony
The ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday at the GM Riverwalk at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. But all general-admission tickets have been claimed, and no walk-ins are allowed. The Free Press will be covering the event.