PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - It was a proud day in Pascagoula on Thursday. That's because Ingalls delivered its newest ship to the U.S. Navy. With a ship named America, there was certainly no shortage of pride and patriotism at the shipyard today.
The men and women, who built America, proudly welcomed the Navy crew which will operate LHA 6. Sailors and Marines marched through "America's Shipyard" and onto our nation's newest amphibious assault ship.
"Welcome LHA 6, USS America to the fleet," said Capt. Joseph Tuite.
Fabrication of this 844 foot vessel began in December of 2008, and her keel was laid in the summer of 2009. She was built with pride by the professional craftsmen and crew at Ingalls.
"Who have put their 75 years of ship building experience, along with their very hearts and souls into building the USS America," said Tuite.
Warships built at Ingalls over the years have carried some famous names, but perhaps none more fitting for these ship builders than the very word which stands for freedom.
"Having the ship called America; it kind of brings out all your patriotism, all your pride at being an American. While these ship builders work very hard every day on no matter what project they build, I think being America, they pushed a little bit harder," said Ingalls President, Brian Cuccias.
Moments after the vessel was officially turned over to the U.S. Navy and Capt. Robert Hall Jr., the loud speaker on the flight deck blared, "Set the watch on deck. Hoist the colors."
"The professionalism we'll exhibit and the culture of teamwork and family that we'll promote will ensure that America is successful long into the future. You are the plank owners. Every one of you has the opportunity to leave your mark and be a part of the great history of America our ship and America our country," said Hall.
The ceremonial activity complete, the commanding officer made the transfer official.
"America. The ship is ours," said the Hall.
"Our ship, our country," echoed the troops.
Following three months of training in South Mississippi, America will sail for her new homeport in San Diego.
America will be commissioned this October, in San Francisco. The next ship in that class, Tripoli, is now under construction at Ingalls.