Ingalls Shipbuilding celebrates future U.S.S. Fallujah keel-laying ceremony

Wednesday marks a historic day at Ingalls Shipbuilding as their employees and military gather to celebrate a keel-laying ceremony.
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 4:12 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - Wednesday marks a historic day at Ingalls Shipbuilding as their employees and military gather to celebrate the keel-laying ceremony for the future U.S.S. Fallujah.

Ship sponsor and wife of Marine Corps General David H. Berger, Donna Berger, signed her name into a piece of steel that would be later welded to the bottom of the ship, better known as the keel.

So, what exactly is a keel-laying ceremony?

“A keel-laying is where we ceremonially lay the first piece of the ship,” said Gene Miller, Ingalls Program Manager for Amphibious Ships. “It starts the long construction process, about five to six years, to finish building one of these ships.”

Fallujah got her name from the Battles of Fallujah — battles that took place during the Iraq War, killing many U.S. Marines. One Ingalls employee and Iraq veteran said the ship’s name is of most importance.

“It needs to be noticed,” said Taurian Haynes, Ingalls Pipe Welder Regular Apprentice. “Battles over there need to be noticed a lot more. Because we lost a lot of Marines over there and it was just a hard, hard time.”

Haynes said he knows that a lot of blood, sweat, and tears will go into making the ship the best it can be. He said that’s more than worth it.

“We need to protect our country and make sure everything is done correctly so that our citizens can get over there safely and come back safe,” Haynes said.

Also in attendance this morning was Under Secretary of the Navy, Erik Raven. He said meeting Ingalls shipbuilders face-to-face was remarkable.

“It’s really exciting,” he said. “Any time I’m able to get out and meet people who are doing real things and really contributing to our national security is always a good time.”

“Ingalls shipbuilders have a long tradition of excellence serving our nation.”

Fallujah is the fourth America-class large-deck amphibious assault ship built at Ingalls. Construction is expected to be completed in 2028.

Click here to subscribe to WLOX News on YouTube: Keep up with South Mississippi news, sports, and local events on our YouTube channel!