Baby Makes Naval History - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/26/04

Baby Makes Naval History

When hear the words U-S-S Ticonderoga, you may think of the aegis guided missile cruiser whose soldiers aboard help counter illegal drug operations. But, Thursday afternoon, the ship became something more. It marked a new beginning for 18-month old Sabrina Pickett. She's the last child christened on the ship before it's decommissioned in September.

With tears of joy mixed with a little discomfort, little Sabrina Pickett was the focus of the last religious service held on board the U-S-S Ticonderoga.

Friends and family gathered to witness Sabrina's infant dedication ceremony - a ceremony which would typically take place inside of a church.

But naval officers say this type of 'on board blessing' is nothing new.

"It fits the needs of a lot of different service members who are not members of any particular church and it's kind of difficult for them to decide OK, well this is the church that we're going to raise this child in when we haven't made that decision yet," said command chaplain Wayne Hatman.

The decision of where to hold Sabrina's dedication ceremony was not a hard one to make for her parents.

"The name Ticonderoga has been a big part of the Navy for years. There were 5 ships under the name Ticonderoga, and it's been a big part of our lives for the past two years since I've been stationed here, which is the entirety of Sabrina's life. I've made a lot of sacrifices and my family has made a lot of sacrifices and this is a way for my family as a little token for all those sacrifices to be a part of the history of Ticonderoga forever," said Sabrina's father Shayne Pickett.

And Sabrina will never be forgotten.

Her name will be inscribed into the bell of the ship, which during the ceremony, was used as a christening bowl.

So basically, the 18-month old is going down in history as a "southern belle."

When the Ticonderoga is decommissioned on September 30, the ship's bell, along with other artifacts, will be sent to the Naval Historical Center for preservation.

By Karla Redditte

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