Pascagoula Unit Honored For USS Cole Repairs

An American flag, a Navy flag, and the Northrop Grumman emblem flapped outside the shipbuilder's main office. They reminded visitors of the pride goes into every naval ship built in Pascagoula.

Lt. Commander Tim Hughes exemplified that patriotic spirit in October 2000. He was assigned the task of developing a plan to rebuild the bomb damaged USS Cole. According to Hughes, "Every person in SUPSHIP Pascagoula contributed to the repair of the Cole."

On Friady, acting Navy Secretary Hansford Johnson came to Northrop Grumman and saluted the Navy's Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion, and Repair, better known as SUPSHIP.

"When a nation wanted to put our ship back at sea, it turned to you," Johnson told an audience of SUPSHIP workers. "And you did it very, very well."

Back in 2000, it took the men and women of SUPSHIP just 30 days to come up with a plan to rebuild the Cole. Over the next 14 months, Sup Ship monitored repair work.

In April 2002, Northrop Grumman returned the Cole to the Navy ahead of schedule and under budget. The Secretary of the Navy said that day "was important for our country to show that we can take the Cole and not have her disabled."

The acting Navy secretary presented SUPSHIP's commander a meritorious unit commendation -- a thank you for returning the Cole to active duty. Lt. Commander Hughes also got a commendation. "I think it's a culmination of the end of a mission. A successful mission, I think."

The USS Cole is waiting to begin its next mission. A Navy spokesman said the Norfolk, VA based ship is in the Atlantic Ocean, preparing for its next assignment.