PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Built at Ingalls, the national security cutter Stratton now belongs to the U.S. Coast Guard.
"Every day is a great day to be an Ingalls shipbuilder. Today is one of those days that proves it," company President Irwin F. Edenzon said. "Today, we deliver another great ship to the nation's Coast Guard, and celebrate the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the designers and builders who made it happen."
The Stratton carries a crew of 110, has a range of 12,000 miles, and can stay at sea for up to two months. Once it does reach the sea, what will be the mission? Captain Charles Cashin, the Stratton commander, has the answer.
"We will meet all of the Coast Guard missions except for ice breaking, 24-7, 356," Captain Cashin said. "So we look forward to doing everything from law enforcement, search and rescue, ports, waterways and coastal security to protect the American shores before problems get here."
During the ceremony, the president of Ingalls talked about the company's past. At one time, it was owned by a huge corporation, but has gone back to its roots.
"As a new, 75-year-old company, recently re-born, we can reflect on the words of Robert I. Ingalls Jr., the founder of this shipyard," Edenzon said. "It is our purpose to build, now and always, the finest ships the world has ever known."
Now that the ship is in hands of the Coast Guard, there's just one thing left to do, according to Captain Cashin.
"Today is one of the nicest days because this is when we start bringing our personal belongings on board and the ship really becomes a cutter."
The Stratton will leave for training missions off the east coast in October. When that is over, the ship will be permanently stationed in California and work in the waters of the Pacific.
An interesting note about the Stratton: Her sponsor is First Lady Michelle Obama, who helped christen the vessel at Ingalls in July of last year.