The future USS Montgomery is in the final stages of being commissioned into military service and planners with the city are raising funds and scheduling events to make the major announcement.
The commissioning has been a long process — six years to be exact. Mayor Todd Strange was approached with the proposition in 2010 while he was in Mobile and made a soft announcement at the Riverfront.
"Don't worry, we're still going to be an Air Force town," Strange said.
Monday night, the USS Montgomery Commissioning Committee met to garner donors for covering commissioning costs, said Waller Griffith, a Montgomery spokesman.
On April 25, Strange will make the official announcement in front of the USS Montgomery docked in Mobile and the commissioning ceremony will be held on Sept. 10.
On May 1, USS Montgomery's soon-to-be commanding officer Daniel G. Straub will present the winner of the GEICO 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race with the Freedom Trophy at the Talladega Superspeedway.
In addition to Commander Straub, six sailors from the Pre-Commissioned Unit Montgomery, which is scheduled to be commissioned in August, will be in Talladega's Gatorade Victory Lane to assist in awarding the Freedom Trophy.
More than 40 other sailors who will be deployed with the Montgomery will also be in attendance.
"We are going to celebrate the soon-to-be commission of the ship early when we have them here," said Grant Lynch, Talladega Superspeedway chairman. "It will be an extreme honor for all of our fans in attendance to show their appreciation. There's nothing we like more than showing support for our country's military who fight each and every day for our freedom so that we can put on NASCAR events here."
The USS Montgomery is an Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), which are designed to operate close to shore. The ship will support its sister ship the USS Independence and will operate in the U.S. 7th Fleet.
Together, they will provide surface, undersea and mine warfare along with search and rescue missions, maritime surveillance and interdiction, intelligence, amphibious operations and disaster relief.
The Montgomery will be the second ship named for the capital of Alabama, according to the US. Navy Public Affairs.
The ship was launched from the Mobile's Austal USA shipyard in August and has already been christened.