PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Joshua James is considered to be one of the most celebrated life savers in the world. The New England sea captain is credited with saving hundreds of lives during his career with the Life Saving Service in the 19th century.
On Saturday in Pascagoula, Ingalls Shipbuilding will christen a Coast Guard cutter that bears his name. The 408 foot James awaits its christening and service in the Coast Guard to follow.
"There's nothing like bringing a ship to life, and taking it from just a bunch of steel and wires and tubes and turning it into something with a heart and a soul," said Coast Guard Vice Commandant Peter Neffenger.
Hundreds of shipyard workers helped design and build this National Security Cutter, including Monica Applewhite of Pascagoula, who works on electronics.
"We're a team. We have stages that we go through, and we have to coordinate with one another to get everything together, get it prepared," said Applewhite.
Last minute preparations will ensure the Coast Guard's newest cutter is ready to be christened.
It carries a proud name. Joshua James saved hundreds of lives with the Life Saving Service, a forerunner of today's Coast Guard.
His great, great niece is the ship's sponsor.
"We heard all about his live saving and his merits in going out, how courageous he was. You think of the boats he went out in in that time, nothing more than a mere rowboat to go out and imperil himself in these rough seas," said ship sponsor Charlene James Benoit.
The ship's captain vows to carry on that kind of commitment.
"That's an incredible legacy to live up to, and frankly, I see that as my mission and the crew sees it as their mission to kind of live up to that legacy and keep it alive in today's modern Coast Guard," Capt. Andy Tiongson.
The president of Ingalls says it gives him a great deal of pride when he sees a ship that is about to leave the shipyard.
"Every time you see one of these ships, from even laying the keel to the christening, they're just great days," said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias.
The new cutter will be home ported at Charleston, SC.