Christening of newest Cutter caps off busy year for Ingalls

Christening of newest Cutter caps off busy year for Ingalls

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - This weekend, Ingalls Shipbuilding capped off a big year with its fifth christening at the shipyard.

Success has created a good atmosphere for both management and shipbuilders.

More importantly, it has created a growing economy.

The National Security Cutter Midgett is just the latest of many accomplishments.

"My first ship out of the academy had done time in World War II," said ship commander Anthony Williams. "To go on a ship like this that's brand new, right out of the dealership, let's say, is quite an honor."

This year, the milestones take two hands to count.

In addition to the five ships christened and two ships starting fabrication, four keels were laid, three ships were launched,six sea trials were conducted and three ships were delivered.

"It's kind of unusual, but it's not past our capability," said Ingalls president Brian Cuccias. "We have a fantastic yard. We could actually produce more and christen more ships in a year."

The business is not only good to build strong security for the nation, but also to build a strong economy for the community.

"In terms of the economy, we're a huge contributor to it," Cuccias said. "We take that seriously. We take how we treat our employees seriously, and we're glad to be part of such a rich tradition of shipbuilding in Mississippi."

In addition, this year Ingalls also signed a four-year collective bargaining agreement with the unions.

"The shipyard's nothing without the people that make the great ships," he said. "To have the union contract behind us, I think it was a win for them, it was a win for us."

Cuccias predicts a bright future for the state's largest manufacturing employer.

"We're really preparing for the Navy to increase the volumes, not just hold the volumes there are, and we're ready for that," said Cuccias.

Shipbuilders seem to be pretty happy as well. Sterlin Mota has been working on ships for 10 years now.

"It's good when you know you've got a long-term employer, that you're going to be working so you can put a hot meal on the table for your kids, your family," said Mota.

Shipbuilder Richard Fuller feels that he is also in a good place.

"It's a great experience. It's an awesome place to work," he said. "Probably one of the best places on the Coast as far as I'm concerned. We're out here to take care of our families. So, the more work for us and our families, it's a good thing."

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