Sailors Prepare To Decommission Ticonderoga

Sailors aboard the USS Ticonderoga are busy preparing the ship for retirement. The historic aegis cruiser, built at Ingalls Shipyard twenty years ago, will be decommissioned next week.

These are bittersweet days for the Ticonderoga's captain and crew.

"And now to see our time on here coming to an end, it's pretty sad," said comanding officer, Glen Zeiders.

Ticonderoga will soon be heading to Philadelphia, where the Navy keeps a fleet of decommissioned warships. Equipment aboard the ship is being secured or removed.

"They removed a large portion of the electronics. All the damage control gear. Much of the engineering equipment. And all that equipment will be re capitalized and used either as repair parts on other ships of this class or in some cases can be used on newer ships," said Zeiders.

Rather than scrap metal, Captain Zeiders would prefer the ship become a museum. Some veterans with the USS Alabama have expressed interest.

"I've heard rumors that the Intrepid group and maybe some of the other museum groups may be interested in this ship as well. And hopefully that will happen. I'd hate to see this ship scrapped," the captain said.

Sailors helping secure CG 47 understand the Navy's decision to upgrade the fleet, even if that means losing their home away from home.

Adam Hoven, a Pascagoula native, says he'll miss the ship.

"I've been on here about 27 months. I'm sad to see her go. I enjoyed being back here in my hometown. I wish I could have been here longer. But I'm on my way to Jacksonville, Florida, and another guided missile cruiser," he said.

Meanwhile, the nation's first Aegis cruiser will soon set sail for a future uncertain. Ticonderoga could become tons of recycled steel or a naval museum attraction.

"This has been our home for a long time. And we're going to be pretty disappointed to see her go,"
 said Captain Zeiders.