A wounded and severely damaged USS Cole is back where she originated. Ingalls employee Larry White said watching the ship arrive touched him. The Aegis Destroyer made its way into the Mississippi Sound and eventually into dock riding on top of the heavy lift ship the Blue Marlin. As the Cole arrived there were mixed emotions and the overwhelming emotion winning over at Ingalls is pride. Every worker we talked to at some point in the conversation mentioned that the USS Cole is in good hands now, and they're taking this job of repairing the ship very seriously.
Tony Mitchell is a labor supervisor at Ingalls, and he says he saw an emotional moment when the ship came over the horizon.
"Seeing the ship come in and people was out there just praising it and blessing the ship from people that died on there and everything, so it was pretty exciting in a way and in a way it was sad."
Meanwhile, an electrician at the shipyard says, "There was a lot of people standing around watching it, and I think there was a lot of pride, we built the ship, and a lot of people want to see it get built and get back out to sea."
It's not going to be an easy job though, and the folks who work at Ingalls know that. Every ship at Ingalls is built one at a time, and it's with freedom in mind. A lot of time, sweat, and pride will go into getting the Destroyer back out into the fleet.
Tony Mitchell says, "It's just a lot more than what everybody thinks it is, just go on and fix it and work it. It's going to take a lot of teamwork to pull together and just get the ship back out on the water and back together."
Another employee says, "I don't know who's going to get to work on it, but there will probably be a lot of pride taken in getting it back together and getting it back out to sea."
The October bombing of the USS Cole killed 17 American sailors, and wounded 39 others. Now the men and women at Ingalls want to help heal this tragedy.