PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - It's the beginning of a new era, The Tripoli LHA-7 amphibious assault ship is closer to being in service.
A christening ceremony took place Saturday, signifying the next step in a long voyage.
"It's the second American class ship that we have in the fleet now. The third of the Tripoli's and it's definitely a moment for the Navy in itself" said sailor, Makayla Hintz.
Thousands watched as Ingalls, Naval, and political leaders all spoke about the significance of the new vessel.
"Ships like this ensure that the United States can go where it wants, when it wants, and no one can stop us," said Maj. Gen. David Coffman during the ceremony.
US Rep. Steven Palazzo also said a few words during the historic ceremony.
"This is just another example of the fine craftsmanship. Our great builders are probably some of the best shipbuilders here in the world, right here in South Mississippi," said Palazzo.
Named after the historic battle fought on the shores, the Tripoli is massive.
"Basically, it was the first expeditionary the Navy-Marine Corps ever conducted," said Palazzo.
The biggest ship that Ingalls has ever built, the vessel weighs 45,000-tons and is 840-feet wide.
"It's definitely one of the biggest ships I've ever seen. This is my first ship to be on board and it's a whole new world for me," said Hintz.
Construction continues on the ship for another year, when it is expected to be delivered to its final destination by the end of 2018.