PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - With the a couple swings of a bottle, the DDG 117 USS Paul Ignatius was christened by his wife and sponsor, Nancy.
The 96-year-old served as the 59th secretary of the Navy under Lyndon Johnson's administration. He is one of few people to get to witness the ship named in their honor.
"Now when someone says Paul Ignatius, I'll have to ask whether it's the man or the ship," said Ignatius. "I hope very much it means both."
Ignatius' family and friends along with hundreds of Ingall's workers, military veterans, and patriotic locals gathered at the shipyard Saturday morning to witness the christening of the Aegis guided missile destroyer.
The ceremony featured several distinguished guests including Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson.
"It's very fitting that we gather here to name a ship after a man who has given so much to the service of the Navy and the service of the nation," said Richardson.
Speaker of the House of Representatives for Mississippi Philip Gunn also spoke.
"We have more freedoms in this country than any other country in the history of the world. Ingalls shipbuilding has been a part of that from the beginning of Ingalls," Gunn said.
Ingalls was briefly in the spotlight week when two of its destroyers were used in the attack on Syrian military bases; a fact that was mentioned several times throughout the ceremony.
"It is special dramatic note that we are standing on the grounds where those two destroyers that fired the missiles on military targets were built. It gives an additional, it seems to me, significance to this occasion," said Ignatius.
US Rep. Steven Palazzo was scheduled to speak at the ceremony, but had to cancel due to bad weather in Washington DC.