New Navy combat ship named after Beloit

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BELOIT, Wis. (WMTV) -- The growth of Beloit, and protection of national security can both in-part be the work of Fairbanks Morse. The manufacturing company has been making engines for the Navy since pre- World War II.

181003-N-DM308-003 WASHINGTON (Oct. 03, 2018) Graphic illustration of the future Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Beloit (LCS 29). (U.S. Navy illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Paul L. Archer/Released)

"The Fairbanks Morse engine is a thing of beauty," Rhett Merrilan said.

Merrilan worked for nearly a decade to get the honor of being named after a ship. He persistently contacted Senator Tammy Baldwin.

Baldwin announced on Tuesday that the newest combat ship will be named "USS Beloit" to honor the City of Beloit.

In a release from Baldwin, the dedication is meant to honor the city for its contributions to the U.S. Navy and America's national security.

Baldwin sent a letter campaigning for naming the Littoral Combat Ship in October.

The LCS program is supported by workers at the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard and 200 suppliers across Wisconsin.

Beloit's relationship with the Navy began in 1938 when Fairbanks Morse sold its first engine to the Navy. Beloit supported Fairbanks Morse's wartime efforts and created new housing developments and bus lines to bring in workers from neighboring communities. Beloit also founded the Council of Defense, which organized fundraising and scrap metal drives among other civilian initiatives.

"I think the City of Beloit is going to be very strong behind us and very honored," Fairbanks Morse employee, Pat Bussie said.