USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul will sail the high seas after Duluth...

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DULUTH, Minn. — The newly constructed USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul, the second naval warship to honor the Twin Cities, is docked in Duluth ahead of its weekend commissioning.

The ship, the first U.S. Navy vessel to dock in Duluth since 1993, when the Navy conducted regular Great Lakes tours, was outlined in festive bunting Thursday while berthed at Rice’s Point.

The nearly 400-foot warship is scheduled to be commissioned into the Navy during a ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday.

On that day, most of its 110-member crew will be asked to “run aboard” in Navy tradition by sprinting up the gangway to populate the ship.

“I’m more than proud,” said Cmdr. Alfonza White, the officer in charge of the vessel, during a Thursday media tour. “I’ve been in the Navy 27 years. The best part of the Navy are the people. Everything about this ship is foremost about the people and who takes care of it.”

A Freedom-class littoral combat ship, Minneapolis-Saint Paul is designed for defense and combat within 25 miles of shore. It reaches speeds near 50 mph, and its main gun on the forward deck can fire artillery that explodes on impact or in the vicinity of targets...

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Rick Mofina is a former journalist who has interviewed murderers on death row, flown over Los Angeles with the LAPD and patrolled with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police near the Arctic. He's also reported from Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Africa, Senegal, Egypt, the Caribbean, and Kuwait's border with Iraq

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