PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - A United States defense ship, named after one of the most celebrated lifesavers in the world, was christened Saturday in Pascagoula. Ingalls Shipbuilding held a special ceremony to celebrate the latest National Security Cutter bearing the name Joshua James.
It took a few practice swings, but ship sponsor Charlene Benoit successfully smashed a bottle over the bow of this Coast Guard National Security Cutter to officially christen it. The vessel is named in honor of her great-great uncle and Coast Guard Legend, Capt. Joshua James of the United States Life Saving Service.
"He embodied our guiding principles of service to nation, duty to people and commitment to excellence," Coast Guard Vice Commandant Peter V. Neffenger said.
During the christening, James was celebrated as a hero for saving at least 600 lives from age 15 until his death at 75-years-old.
"If a National Security Cutter holds a crew of 120, Capt. James saved enough people over the course of his life to crew five of these ships. That is what legends are made of," Huntington Ingalls Industries CEO and President Mike Petters said.
Ingalls shipbuilders were also praised for building strong, sturdy ships in a timely and efficient manner. U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo said this more than 400 foot Coast Guard vessel is no expectation.
"Shipbuilders are the backbone of America's last great heavy industry. In South Mississippi, our shipbuilders are the cornerstone of our community and livelihood," said Palazzo.
The James is the fifth of its kind to be built by Ingalls' Pascagoula shipyard and one of most high-tech Coast Guard ships in the world. Palazzo and Ingalls officials are confident the ship will be put to good use to help provide safety and security for the nation.
"Whether it is drug interdiction, counterterrorism or other homeland security missions, this ship will go on to be one of the greatest tools in our nation's tool kit for the protection of our homeland and the safety of our citizens," said Palazzo.