Giffords welds initials in keel of ship named after her

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Gabrielle Giffords welding her name into the keel of her namesake By Mike Gertzman Gabrielle Giffords welding her name into the keel of her namesake By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

MOBILE, Ala. -- Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords welded her initials into the keel of the ship that will carry her name.

The keel-laying ceremony on Wednesday recognized the first joining together of a ship's components and signified the formal start of building the future USS Gabrielle Giffords.

"It is a special day for all of us on the Gulf Coast to have the ship's namesake, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, here with us for the keel laying ceremony of LCS 10, the future USS Gabrielle Giffords," said Capt. Joseph Tuite, Supervisor of Shipbuilding (SUPSHIP) Gulf Coast.

LCS is a new class of U.S. Navy warship, capable of open-ocean operation but optimized for littoral, or coastal, missions. LCS 10 is one of five Independence-variant LCS currently under construction at Austal USA. The ship is expected to be delivered to the fleet in 2017.

“This is an important milestone for the Navy. I look forward to closely following the completion of the future USS Gabrielle Giffords, as well as her sister ships, as we bring this tremendous capability to the fleet.” said Rear Adm. Brian Antonio, program executive officer, Littoral Combat Ships.

The Gabrielle Giffords will be approximately 420 feet in length, have a waterline beam of about 103 feet, displace approximately 3,000 tons, and make speed in excess of 40 knots. The construction will be led by Austal Shipbuilding in Mobile, Ala. This is the sixteenth ship to be named for a woman and the thirteenth ship to be named for a living person since 1850.

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