FORT LAUDERDALE -- The U.S. Navy is honoring the city with a combat ship bearing its name: the USS Fort Lauderdale.
The ship is a newly designed kind of "maneuverable surface" warship equipped with advanced weapons and propulsion systems, the city announced Monday. The ship is designed to carry out a variety of missions in coastal waters, including mine, submarine and surface warfare.
"I've been working on this thing since 2009," Mayor Jack Seiler said Monday, calling it "one of the most prestigious accolades in the history of our city." Seiler and a group of businessmen went to Washington in 2011 to push for naval recognition of the city.
Seiler has said in the past that having a ship named for the city recognizes the longtime Broward Navy Days program and the city's spot as a popular port for sailors on shore leave. This year's Fleet Week will be held May 2-9 at Port Everglades.
The Navy once had a USS Lauderdale, a troop ship used in the Pacific theater during World War II. However, that vessel wasn't named after the city, but after counties in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. There were plans in the early 1990s to sink the ship off Broward's coast for use as an artificial reef, but that idea was scrapped because of dangerous levels of PCB toxins in the ship's insulation.
There have been three vessels named the USS Miami and six called the USS Florida.
Officials credited Chuck Black, a city business owner and 20-year Navy veteran, for spearheading the local effort to name a USS Fort Lauderdale. During World War II, the city served as a naval training center, with both Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport and Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport previously used for naval operations and training.
"This is a dream come true for the city of Fort Lauderdale," Black said, and "will create an inseparable bond between the city and the Navy."
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the type of vessel that would bear the city's name. It will be a littoral combat ship, city officials said.