Shipyard workers bid NSC Stratton farewell - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Shipyard workers bid NSC Stratton farewell

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PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) -

Proud shipyard workers bid farewell Friday to the newest Coast Guard cutter constructed at Ingalls Shipbuilding.

NSC Stratton is the third of eight such vessels being built in Pascagoula for the U.S. Coast Guard. The new class is the largest and most technologically advanced group in Coast Guard history.

The construction of NSC Stratton involved the talents of nearly a thousand shipyard workers.

"This ship has tremendous capability. In fact, with the exception of ice breaking, she's able to accomplish every Coast Guard mission that exists out there. And if you think about the missions the Coast Guard has to conduct, that's rather impressive," said Program Manager Derek Murphy.

NSC Stratton is 418 feet long, can reach a top speed of 28 knots and carries a crew of 110.

Along with its impressive equipment and capabilities, a large measure of pride and patriotism also went into its construction.

"When you know you can go home and sleep good at night knowing that you put all you can into one of these vessels, and you've got a lot of pride and dedication here, it makes you feel good when she leaves the pier," said Construction Manager Royce Winbush.

First Lady Michelle Obama christened the ship last year, the first time in U.S. history a first lady has sponsored a Coast Guard cutter.

The ship is named for Capt. Dorothy Stratton, who led the Coast Guard women's reserve during World War II.

As tugboats maneuver to help guide Stratton down the channel, shipyard workers loosen the lines, enabling the ship to float free.

Workers who spent years building the cutter, prepared to bid it farewell.

"Just a tremendous amount of pride for me personally to be able to help deliver an asset to our Coast Guard that's going to continue executing these missions into the foreseeable future," said Coast Guard Program Manager Mike Duthu.

Stratton is headed for a stop in Baltimore. It will eventually be stationed at Alameda, California.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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