The U.S.S. Little Rock isn't just a tourist attraction for Navy veterans like Ron Carrick. It's also a source of great pride. “I was honored during her last deployment through the Mediterranean. She was a six fleet flag ship,” he explained.
That was in 1975. Carrick was being recognized for his role aboard a missile cruiser in the Black Sea while Russian fighters flew overhead. “You're on that ship, you're a family. We call it home."
The Little Rock was decommissioned a few months later. So, Carrick said it feels special knowing he was a part of its history if only for a day. “The Little Rock had a distinguished career during WWII and of course, having served as a Flag Ship for a fleet! Not many ships get to do that,” Carrick said.
That's also why Carrick said he's glad to hear a new warship will take on the name, and he isn't the only Navy vet who feels that way. “It's going to be wonderful for the city,” said retired Second Class Fire Control Technician, John Radens. “People will be able to come down and there will be a lot of opportunity for people to see the park and give them another reason to come down here.”
The U.S.S. Little Rock is expected to arrive at Canalside next spring. However, officials still haven't determined an exact commission date.