A Littoral Combat Ship that will be built by Austal USA, Mobile, AL, will be named for former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle "Gabby" Giffords, according to an announcement by U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus.
Giffords, who resigned her position earlier this year, was critically injured with a gunshot wound to the head during a shooting rampage at a Tucson mall on Jan. 8, 2011. Thirteen others were injured and six others killed during the shooting. Giffords, who has made a remarkable and inspiring recovery from her brain injuries, resigned to focus on her continued rehabilitation and has promised to return to public service.
The USS Garielle Giffords (LCS 10) will be th third ship of the 10-ship contract awarded to Austal USA in December 2010. The 10-ship contract has a total value in excess of $3.5 billion. Once commissioned, these 10 ships will join the Austal-built USS Independence (LCS 2) which was commissioned in January 2010. Coronado (LCS 4) was recently christened at Austal and is currently being prepared to undergo builder’s trials.
This 10-ship LCS contract and the 10-ship Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) award, of which seven are under contract and 3 are under construction in Austal’s Mobile, Alabama shipyard, will require Austal to more than double its workforce to over 4,000 employees. This will further strengthen Austal’s claim is the largest manufacturing employer in Mobile County.
Commenting on the choice of names for the Littoral Combat Ship class vessel, Austal USA President Joe Rella said, “We are honored to have the opportunity to build a ship that will play such an important role in Naval History. As only the 17th ship to be named for a woman and the 13th ship to be named for a living person since 1850, this ship will become a part of the shipbuilding legacy that Mobile, Alabama has become known for.”
March 4, 2012