PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - A new vessel has officially been handed off to the U.S. Coast Guard. It's the sixth one of its kind, and shipbuilders as well as Coast Guard officials are more than ready for it to take to the sea.
Several dozen Coast Guardsmen stood on the deck of the new ship, standing together only moments before receiving a new responsibility, control of a new national security cutter, Munro.
"This is the culmination of three years of very hard work, so we have officially handed over the keys to the Coast Guard. Now, they have taken ownership of the Coastguard Cutter Munro," said Ingalls shipyard program manager Derek Murphy.
Named after the Coast Guard's sole recipient of the Medal of Honor, Douglas Munro, the vessel will station a little over 100 Coast Guardsmen. Gerard Kelly will be one of new Coast Guardsmen in that number. He calls this new opportunity a lifelong dream.
"It's a really exciting, brand new, top of the line, great crew. This is the heart of the Coast Guard right here, I believe. This is always been a dream of mine to serve my nation," said Kelly.
"There's not a doubt in my mind they're going to do a tremendous job, and they're going to make us just as proud when we read about Munro doing great things years from now," said Murphy.
"We've been preparing for a long time now since the two months I've been here. It's been straight preparations and learning to get ready to go," said Kelly.
The Munro will remain at Ingalls shipyard until February of next year. After the Munro leaves Ingalls shipyard, it will head for Seattle where it will be officially commissioned to the oast Guard fleet.