USS Gabrielle Giffords Commissioned in Galveston
GALVESTON, Texas — USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), the Navy's newest littoral combat ship, was brought to life by her crew before a crowd of nearly 2,500 guests at Pier 21 at the Port of Galveston June 10, the Navy said in a release on the same date.
Adm. William Moran, vice chief of naval operations, delivered the ceremony's principal address before officially commissioning the ship into service.
“As we man the rails today, blood gets pumped, the ship comes alive and the heart begins to beat,” Moran said. “It's the blood that is infused by the spirit, the attitude and the courage of its namesake. We are so proud to be part of Gabrielle Giffords' legacy to the United States.”
Following the commissioning, Dr. Jill Biden, the ship's sponsor and wife of former Vice President Joe Biden, gave the time-honored Navy tradition of ordering the crew to “man our ship and bring her to life!”
The crowd sounded its approval as the crew ran aboard the ship to man their assigned stations and complete the ceremony of bringing the ship into active service. USS Gabrielle Giffords became the 16th ship to be named for a woman and the 13th ship to be named for a living person since 1850.
The ship is commanded by Cmdr. Keith Woodley, a native of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, who leads the core crew of 50 officers and enlisted personnel. During the ceremony, he praised the crew for its dedication and hard work in getting the ship ready for service.
“This is not just a new ship. This is a new class of ship and that makes it even more challenging for the crew,” Woodley said. “They have risen to that challenge and performed exceptionally well in getting this ship ready for service.”
Most other Navy surface combatant ships have a crew of 300 or more Sailors, but LCSs have more automated systems and much smaller crews than their counterparts. Gabrielle Giffords' crew is just 73 at the ship's commissioning.
“It's not easy being an LCS Sailor,” said Mark Dobrinin, gunner's mate 1st class. “We have to wear so many hats and be trained on systems and duties outside of our normal job specialty due to the small crew size. Every enlisted Sailor here volunteered for the program and we're excited to serve on USS Gabrielle Giffords.”
The 3,200-ton Gabrielle Giffords was built by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala. The ship is 421 feet in length and has a beam of 103 feet and a navigational draft of 15 feet. The ship uses two gas turbines and two diesel engines to power four steerable waterjets to speeds in excess of 40 knots.
USS Gabrielle Giffords will be homeported at Naval Base San Diego.