SIOUX CITY | The USS Sioux City is moving closer to officially joining the Naval fleet, Capt. Paul D. Young said Wednesday as he visited the ship's namesake city.

The warship was christened and launched Jan. 30 into the Menominee River at the Marinette Marine Shipyards in northern Wisconsin, where construction is nearing completion.

The ship will next undergo up to months of testing on Lake Michigan before being commissioned into the Navy and reaching its home base in Florida.

"Trials on the ship will start about mid next year, summer of 2017," Young, who, as first commodore of Littoral Combat Ship Squadron Two, oversees the crew of the USS Sioux City. "She’ll actually go to sea on the Great Lakes for initial stages of testing," he said of the ship

Young spoke hours before serving as marshal for the annual Port of Sioux City River-Cade parade Wednesday night. River-Cade leaders invited him to serve not only due to his command position with the USS Sioux City, but also his ties to the tri-state region.

"I'm from Fremont (Nebraska) so I'm kind of a local boy," Young said. "When I was asked to come, I leapt at the opportunity, not only because I love the relationship that the Navy has with the culture of the Midwest and the people of the Midwest, it's an opportunity to come home so I couldn’t pass it up."

He planned to visit his mother and other relatives in the eastern Nebraska city after his stop in Sioux City. His wife and two children, Ethan, 8, and Zoe, 7, are along for the trip.

"I'm gonna take the rest of the week off," Young said. "I haven’t taken a week off in a while, so it's nice to have a little time off, not only to do the parade, which is a great honor, but to spend some time with my family, too."

The USS Sioux City will be the 11th in a new class of ships deemed littoral combat ships. They are designed to be used closer to the shoreline, and specialize in mine detection and anti-submarine warfare.

"We’re still in the early stages of using these ships," Young said. "But they're going to be very capable. They're going to provide forward presence overseas at a great rate, a higher rate, than most of our other ship classes, so I'm very excited."

Construction on the USS Sioux City began Feb. 19, 2014. After leaving the Great Lakes, the ship will move through the St. Lawrence Seaway, and then down the Atlantic Ocean coast before reaching its final destination in Mayport, Florida.

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