PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Three thousand people watched First Lady Michelle Obama make history in South Mississippi Friday. She's the only first lady to ever christen a Coast Guard cutter named after a female commissioned officer.
With two swift, strong swings, Mrs. Obama christened National Security Cutter Stratton.
"This is a great honor for the men and women who work here at Northrop Grumman. They would never, ever see this probably in their lifetime," shipbuilder Royce Windbush said.
Mrs. Obama is the ship's sponsor. The $700 million vessel bears the name of Capt. Dorothy Stratton, one of highest ranking women in the Coast Guard.
"Stratton broke all of these barriers in just four, short years," Obama said. "Her legacy lives on in the admiration of her fellow SPARS. These amazing women who marched, drilled, and trained, and proved themselves more than worthy of American's uniform."
Mrs. Obama stressed the need to continue building high quality ships, like this one. Also, she said it's important to fully equip the men and women who serve with the tools they need to protect our country and keep our waters safe.
"It is not just a challenge to government, but to the private sector. See one percent of Americans may be fighting in our wars and protecting our country, but 100 percent of Americans need to be supporting our troops."
The first lady showed her support by publicly praising those who put their lives on the line to fight the war on terror.
"Thank you for the job you all do every day to keep America and its ships so strong and so proud. God bless you all and God Bless America."
The Stratton is the third Legend Class National Cutter built at the Pascagoula shipyard. She will be ready for delivery next summer.
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