BELOIT, Wis. (WTVO) — The U.S. Navy honored a local community for its contributions to the country.
The City of Beloit will soon have a ship named after it, which will be called the USS Beloit. Construction on the freedom-class littoral combat ship started in July 2020.
The naming honor came in large part thanks to Fairbanks Morse. The manufacturer has been building engines for the Navy since the 1930s. That includes the USS Beloit. Many times, ships are named after famous people, but retired Army Major General Marsha Anderson, a Beloit native, said that naming it after the City of Beloit is special.
“That spirit, that belief that the ship is basically a living being and a manifestation of their hope and the hopes of the City of Beloit, to me makes it more than just a piece of equipment,” Anderson said. “It’s not just a piece of equipment, it’s the heritage of the City of Beloit that’s going to be sailing with that ship. It’s the hopes of all the sailors and the rest of the crew, and again, it’s the citizens, because it represents us and the United States of America… I personally think the contributions of people in cities like Beloit have made to our national security over decades, not just providing their sons and daughters to serve, but actually providing the equipment that we need in order to do our job, the solders, sailors, and Marines is absolutely, incredibly important.”
The USS Beloit will be officially christened Saturday in Marinette, Wisconsin. It is not open to the public, so local veterans celebrated in Beloit on Monday, like 95-year-old George Olson. He joined the Navy in 1944 when he was just 17-years-old to fight in World War II. He went on to work at Fairbanks Morse.
“I think it’s a great privilege to be honored, to be recognized for what we did several years ago, 75 years ago,” Olson said. “Yeah, it’s great. We appreciate all of the help people have given us.”
There was a celebration at Fairbanks Morse as the engine for the USS Beloit came off the line.