Austal USA announced the delivery of its 12th Independence-class littoral combat ship (LCS) Friday, June 26 to the U.S. Navy. The future USS Oakland (LCS 24) is the second ship delivered by Austal USA to the Navy this year.
“We’re so excited to deliver Oakland to the fleet,” Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle said. “Every milestone we accomplish during these unprecedented times is a true testament to the extraordinary skill and dedication of our LCS team — an indication of the success of our efforts to minimize the impact of the pandemic.”
Upgrades on the LCS program continue to take shape both with inline production and post-delivery. The Austal USA and General Dynamics Mission Systems team recently integrated a new over-the-horizon missile system capability onto the USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) prior to her deployment with the U.S. Navy.
A massive employer in the area, with over 4,000 workers at its Mobile-based North American shipyard headquarters, Austal’s press release follows on the heels of a $50 million federal subsidy, also announced last week, for the facility as production lines continue to roll out more LCS vessels for future deployments.
“In the Pacific, USS Gabrielle Giffords is strengthening maritime security and regional stability with every port visit, exercise and operation in which she participates,” Perciavalle said. “The LCS program has become instrumental to the U.S. Navy fleet as ships deploy from San Diego. We’re looking forward to seeing the USS Oakland and her sister ships follow in the path of the Giffords and Montgomery.”
Five small surface combatants are presently under various stages of construction at Austal’s Alabama shipyard.
The future USS Mobile (LCS 26) is preparing for sea trials. Assembly is currently underway on the future USS Savannah (LCS 28) and USS Canberra (LCS 30). Modules for the future USS Santa Barbara (LCS 32) and USS Augusta (LCS 34) are under construction in Austal’s module manufacturing facility, and the future USS Kingsville (LCS 36) and USS Pierre (LCS 38) are under contract.
In total, more than 700 suppliers in 40 states contribute to the Independence-class LCS program.
The Independence-class LCS integrates new technology and capability to support current and future mission capability from deep water to the littorals. It is a fast, agile and focused-mission platform designed for operation in near-shore environments, yet it is capable of open-ocean operation and designed to defeat threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.
Austal is also under contract to build 14 expeditionary fast transport (EPF) vessels for the U.S. Navy. The company has delivered 11 EPFs to date, while an additional two are in various stages of construction.
Regions Bank donates to Downtown Strong Small Business Impact Fund
Birmingham-based Regions Bank recently announced a donation of $10,000 to the Downtown Strong Small Business Impact Fund.
The funds will be funneled into a program cobbled together in April by the Downtown Mobile Alliance (DMA) in a creative effort to provide financial relief for up to 20 small downtown businesses and nonprofits impacted by initial COVID-19 closures, surging second wave shutdowns and social distancing requirements.
As reported previously, $500 grants will be made to those businesses and nonprofits that raise at least $1,000 on the GoFundMe crowdfunding site. GoFundMe is also offering matching grants through its Small Business Relief Initiative for campaign stories that include the hashtag #smallbusinessrelief.
“While not large, the Downtown Strong grants may leverage up to $2,000 in capital that these small businesses and organizations are able to use for overhead costs that continue even after the doors are closed,” Elizabeth Stevens, president and CEO of DMA, said.
The Regions donation will assist in refilling coffers for a locally impactful scheme that has also received contributions over the past few months by other noteworthy entities such as Foosackly’s, Austal USA, Boys & Girls Clubs of South Alabama, Mobile County Public School System, Prodisee Pantry and Feeding the Gulf Coast.
“The Downtown Strong fund has already provided assistance to more than a dozen downtown businesses and property owners who are using the grants to make improvements, receive professional advice or simply maintain operations in a challenging environment,” Stevens said. “Our goal is to support downtown businesses and improve the customer experience so that our city center continues to be a lively and dynamic place. This donation from Regions will help us accomplish it.”
Two grant opportunities are currently available: a façade grant for repairs and improvements to commercial buildings and a professional assistance grant for downtown businesses desiring legal or accounting consultation.
“Regions is proud to support our friends and neighbors during this pandemic. We know that small businesses across our footprint are struggling with the effects of COVID-19 and we are actively working to do our part in helping our downtown community be successful,” Regions’ South Alabama Market Executive Christian White said.
The coronavirus mitigating grant program is reportedly available to property owners, businesses and not-for-profits found within the confines of the Hank Aaron Loop. Application requirements can be found on the DMA website, downtownmobile.org/covid-19-updates.
Baldwin Bone & Joint adds orthopedic specialist
Daphne-based Baldwin Bone & Joint PC recently announced the addition of orthopedic surgeon Dr. William I. Park IV to their medical staff.
Park brings more than 20 years of experience and fellowship training in treating complex, lower extremity issues, with expertise in tendon reconstructions, ankle and foot arthritis trauma and arthroscopic knee replacement surgeries.
A Mobile native, Park received his undergraduate degree in zoology from Duke University, with a focus in anatomy and biomechanics. He then completed medical school at The University of Alabama School of Medicine in 1997.
Park completed both his medical residency and fellowship training in foot and ankle surgery at the University of Tennessee’s Campbell Clinic in Memphis, Tennessee, and is board certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery.
He comes to the Baldwin Bone & Joint team of fellowship-trained orthopedic specialists following over 20 years of practice based in Mobile. He will treat patients at Baldwin Bone & Joint’s main office in Daphne.
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