Ingalls ready to christen amphibious assault ship 'America'

Proud Ingalls shipyard workers are excited about Saturday's christening of the navy's newest amphibious assault ship, "America LHA-6."
Proud Ingalls shipyard workers are excited about Saturday's christening of the navy's newest amphibious assault ship, "America LHA-6."

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - American pride and patriotism will shine in Pascagoula on Saturday morning. That's when Ingalls shipyard hosts a christening ceremony for this country's newest amphibious assault ship named "America."

Shipyard workers at Ingalls always take great pride in the navy ships they manufacture.

But with a vessel named "America" you can imagine those welders and electricians and painters felt an extra boost of pride and patriotism as they worked to build LHA-6.

America is the first in a new class of amphibious assault ship. Jennifer Childs helped built it and her husband will be a crew member aboard America.

"It's especially important to me to know that his life and the lives of the other sailors that are going to be onboard and marines, depend on how good a job I do as a ship builder," said Jennifer Childs.

"This will be a bit of a change for me. I've been mostly on smaller ships my who life, up until now. Now I'm on a big ship and I know because she worked on it I'm getting a good product and I'll be able to take a little bit of her with me every time I go out," said her husband, Peter Chaveriat.

America also features a similar father-son connection.

"My son happens to be on the ship. He is going to be a plank owner on this ship. He's going to do a pre-comm. And I'm so very happy to have him home with me," said James W. England Jr.

"I feel a little more safe knowing he had something to do with it. It's a very comfortable feeling knowing my father had something to do with this ship. I know my father puts his heart and soul into everything he does," said his son, James.

The ship's sponsor is married to the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  She's excited about christening LHA-6.

"To be the sponsor of any ship is wonderful, but to be the sponsor of a ship called America couldn't make me prouder. And the fact that it carries Navy and Marine personnel on it is beyond description," said Lynne Pace.

"Very powerful ship, very capable warship. And we're very excited. This is one step closer to us sailing out of here, sailing across and becoming a fleet asset. So, we've very excited about that," said the ship's prospective captain, Robert Hall Jr.

Those who built her say they often thought of the military members who will serve aboard America.

"It makes you do your best. 'Cause this is somebody's family, loved one, friend, son, daughter. It makes you do your best because we, they're fighting for us. We should do our best for them," said Queena Myles.

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