U.S.S. Forrest Sherman Crew Boards Ship - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

10/07/05

U.S.S. Forrest Sherman Crew Boards Ship

"It is a great navy day," one speaker says.

A great day, because the Navy is receiving another one of South Mississippi's ships - the U.S.S Forrest Sherman.

"Less than five weeks after Katrina, we are here, moving aboard, and making the transition from an industrial production to a Navy operation,"U.S.S. Forrest Sherman Commander Michael Van Durick said.

Northrop Grumman workers began construction on this ship in 2002. It was built to endure the demands of battle. Until now, no one knew it would be hurricane proof as well.

"This ship stood up against some of the strongest force winds that she will ever encounter," U.S. Navy Captain David Bellas said.

Unfortunately the shipyard wasn't as durable.

"There was a lot of damage with the water surge as high as it was, "Northrop Grumman Public Relations Bill Glenn said.

Shipyard officials say if it weren't for Forrest Sherman, they would have stayed closed much longer.

"She became a beacon of hope for this yard when the winds died down," Van Durick added.

She became Northrop Grumman's command center.

"We didn't have any place to meet, we didn't have any place to go. This place provided us with somewhere to go," Glenn said.

She also provided them with somewhere to stay.

"People slept here, people ate here. It was very hot. It provided a place for people to come in and cool off."

"This was truly the command center to bringing this shipyard back to life," Teno Henderson, Vice President of Northrop Grumman's Aegis Destroyer Program, said.

"We'll forever be grateful for the captain and crew for helping us with that," Glenn added.

It was her first humanitarian task.

"She's already serving our nation and she hasn't even left the builder's yard. Just think of what she can do in your hands, when you're out sailing the seas," Van Durick said.

Hurricane Katrina has proven the U.S.S. Forrest Sherman is ready for just about anything.

By Jaimee Goad

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