PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - History was made Friday at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula as transport ship LPD 24, the Arlington, left the shipyard for its new home in Virginia.
Before leaving the dock, a lot of attention is paid to last minute details. Getting a 684 foot long ship ready to head to sea is a big job. Bigger still is the message this ship carries. It's named for the city of Arlington, the site of the attack on the Pentagon.
Irwin Edenzon is president of Ingalls Shipbuilding.
"This is one of the commemorative ships for 9/11 so it's got special meaning for us," Edenzon explained. "There's a big plaque on that ship that says they will never forget, and I can tell you the shipyard will never forget either."
Building a ship from scratch is a special calling. Mike Stanley is a shipbuilder.
"Well, the process is amazing. You start with just pieces of steel and it comes together over a period of about four years and into the product that you see today to a finished ship," Stanley said.
Teamwork is also a key part of the shipbuilding process for shipbuilder Artensie Sabino-Grace.
"The communication that we have with each other and we pull together as a team and got the ship together and we're getting it out of here on time and I have to give my hat off to all the other crews," Sabino-Grace said.
While these send-off events are a big deal for Ingalls Shipbuilding as a company, and for the Navy personnel on board, it's an even more special moment for the men and women who build these ships. People like Beth Bodden.
"I'm very proud, very proud of the boat and the ship that it has become from being a piece of steel to a finished product," Bodden said.
The lines come off the ship, and then the signal comes that she is ready to go. With that blast of the horn, the Arlington and her crew make the slow journey to open water, ready to defend the country while never forgetting.
The Arlington will be commissioned in Norfolk on April 6th. She carries a crew of 360 sailors and can transport up to 900 Marines and their equipment into battle zones.