PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Another Coast Guard ship is beginning to take shape at Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula. Ingalls hosted a keel authentication ceremony Friday morning for the cutter Midgett.
The vessel pays tribute to a true life-saving hero from North Carolina. The National Security Cutter under construction is nicknamed the "Mighty Midgett."
Its namesake, John Allen Midgett, Jr., was a true hero, serving nearly 40 years in the Coast Guard and its forerunner, the U.S. Life Saving Service.
"He earned the Gold Life Saving Medal for his heroic rescue of 42 crewmen from a torpedoed British tanker in 1918," said NSC program manager Derek Murphy.
The National Security Cutter program has been a steady success for Ingalls shipbuilders. Coast Guard leaders say the expectation of excellence has served the shipyard well.
"I look forward to the continued emphasis in quality, while maximizing NSC completeness, improvements indicative of the planning, hard work, integration, and shipbuilding excellence here," said Coast Guard Capt. Christopher Webb, who spoke during the keel authentication ceremony.
Midgett's granddaughter is the ship's sponsor. Her initials were welded onto the cutter's keel plate. She said her grandfather's lasting legacy extends far beyond his heroics at sea.
"He would sew people up, children, cause we didn't have doctors on the island at that time. He was a wonderful person and life saving was his heart's desire," said Jazania O'Neal.
Midgett is the eighth National Security Cutter built here at Ingalls. A contract for the ninth ship was awarded this past December.
"Our shipbuilders get really good at bringing costs down, and the NSC nine that we just negotiated, it actually was less a price than the NSC we had three and a half years ago with NSC six. So, that's real learning, and it's real payback to our shipbuilders and our taxpayers," said Brian Cuccias, President of Ingalls Shipbuilding.
This is the second Coast Guard cutter to bear the name Midgett. The first was commissioned back in 1972.
The Midgett family has a long legacy of serving the United States Coast Guard. In the outer banks of North Carolina, more than 150 family members made a career in the Coast Guard.