USS Jackson set for commissioning ceremony - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

USS Jackson set for commissioning ceremony

USS Jackson is docked at the Port of Gulfport ready to be commissioned Saturday. (Photo source: WLOX) USS Jackson is docked at the Port of Gulfport ready to be commissioned Saturday. (Photo source: WLOX)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

History will be made in Gulfport on Saturday. That's when the city hosts its first commissioning of a Navy ship.

USS Jackson is docked at the Port of Gulfport, as its crew awaits the ceremony.    

“We're excited about bringing the first ship named after the City of Jackson, Mississippi, to life.
 And we're doing that this Saturday, in a few short days,” said commanding officer Allen Adkins.

Adkins, says the 53 crew members onboard the 417 foot ship are anxious to get underway.
With a draft of just 14 feet, the ship is designed to excel at shallow water missions.

“So it's called a littoral combat ship, and littorals are the shallow water. We're made to go fast and in shallow water and get in close to show. A capability our Navy is in need of and that's the role we're going to fill,” said Adkins..

The ship offers comfortable living conditions for her sailors: A galley, exercise room and shared quarters.

In the ship's bridge is the electronic control room for navigation and warfare. Unlike traditional ships with rudder and propeller systems, Jackson is water jet driven.

“We're basically like a giant jet ski. So, for naval officers, we have to learn to drive the ship a completely new method,” said Adkins.

Security is evident and expected as we tour Jackson, from armed security patrolling the perimeter to law enforcement boats in the harbor.

Three of Jackson's crew members are native Mississippians and especially proud to serve on her first crew.

Ken Ballard is from Lorman, Mississippi.

“To serve onboard a platform that's named after the capital of your state is an opportunity of a lifetime. So, I'm pretty excited. My crew is even more excited. We're going to go out and see what she can do,” said Ballard.

“It means a lot. It's my home state. And I just can't wait to see her get underway,” said Hattiesburg native John Rapetti.

The commander and crew are excited about the weekend commissioning.

“We're ready to get out there, get underway and make things happen,” said Adkins.

The ceremony will start at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Port of Gulfport’s West Pier.  

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