MARINETTE - "She's almost 400 feet long," U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said Saturday. "About 3,500 tons."
He rattled off the specs for Littoral Combat Ship 7 with pride while standing near it in the shipyard at Marinette Marine Corporation.
"It can get up to 40 knots, more or less," he said.
That's about 46 miles per hour.
"It's pretty fast. You could waterski behind it," Mabus laughed.
This Littoral Combat Ship, or LCS, was christened the USS Detroit on Saturday.
The U.S. Navy sends its warships all over the world.
But the start of the ships themselves has a long history here in northern Wisconsin.
Marinette Marine has six LCS's in production right now.
"It is a required need for our Navy. We need small surface combatants to do things no other ship can do," Mabus said.
The ships can fight enemies on land, on the water, or underwater, and can navigate into very shallow waters.
Despite the size of ships in production at Marinette Marine, they only dip 13 feet below the water's surface.
Building and launching LCS vessels is a major piece of keeping the northern Wisconsin and Upper Peninsula economies afloat.
"The companies that own and run this shipyard invested more than $125 million specifically for these ships," Mabus said.
About 1,500 people work at Marinette Marine alone.
"This shipyard has brought large-scale naval shipbuilding back to the Great Lakes economy and the Great Lakes region," said Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin).
Despite controversy over the LCS program over cost, safety, and need, supporters would tell you their work is something worth celebrating.
Something like watching the huge ship crash into the Menominee River upon its launch instilled pride and patriotism in the hundreds out to watch.
Mabus was impressed.
"I'd say," he thought, "that's a modern marvel."