SIOUX CITY -- Sioux City earned a big honor Wednesday, as the U.S. Navy announced it will name a combat ship the USS Sioux City.
The naming is part of a Navy initiative to honor important Heartland cities that have supported the military. A second combat ship will be named USS Omaha.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced the next five Navy ships, with the other three being guided-missile destroyers -- the USS John Finn, USS Ralph Johnson and USS Rafael Peralta.
"I chose the name for our two new littoral combat ships after Midwestern cities from America's heartland, to honor the patriotic, hard-working citizens of Sioux City, Iowa, and Omaha, Neb., for their support of and contributions to the military," Mabus said.
A littoral combat ship is a fast, relatively small vessel that operates close to shore, the area known as the littoral zone.
Iowa Congressman Dave Loebsack welcomed the decision. Loebsack was born and raised in Sioux City before moving to eastern Iowa.
U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, also praised the ship, which will be 378 feet long.
"This is a wonderful tribute to the people of Sioux City and the historical commitment of all those in Siouxland to the defense and security of the United States. Littoral combat ships are described as a major part of the future of the Navy, so it's fitting to name one for a city that is on the move and forward looking," said Grassley.