PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Those who couldn't get on the grounds at Ingalls shipyard gathered around the Pascagoula Ship Channel to wish farewell to those military members aboard the America Friday morning.
The crowds consisted of the families of sailors and marines, as well as ship builders, and those who just came out to support our military.
Hundreds waved American flags, wore patriotic colors and observed the LHA 6 America set sail from Ingalls Shipyard at Point Park in Pascagoula.
Thousands of Ingalls employees worked tirelessly to construct the 844 foot long amphibious assault ship.
"It's a pretty remarkable moment for Huntington Ingalls. There's a lot of blood, sweat and tears that go into the boat. All the employees at Ingalls are always here being supportive and if it wasn't' for them our country would be a lot different than it is," said Kelly Hicks.
Those who worked on the ship proudly watched their work sail off into the horizon. For Billy Vice seeing this ship leave is emotional.
"I worked on this ship and I retired, but on March 28 I went on sea trials the day of the ice storm. It's a fine ship. We build fine ships here. And I'm proud of the shipyard and I'm proud of what we do here," said Vice.
Family members of the sailors and marines on board say they're delighted to see so many people come out and support the military.
"My whole family is military. My husband retired and he was the plank owner of LHA1 and now my son in law is the plank owner of the LHA6," said Barbara Baird.
"They get to go travel and see a whole bunch of new places on the way and that's really cool. As long as everyone's safe, I'm happy," said Molly Woodworth who was there in support of her husband on the ship.
Even more crowds are expected to gather as the America arrives in San Francisco on October 11 for her commissioning ceremony.
The $2 billion warship is 844 feet long and 106 feet wide. Before arriving in San Francisco the ship will make several stops in South America.