U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced today that a new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) will be named the USS Gabrielle Giffords in honor of the former congresswoman who survived an assassination attempt.
DefenseNews reports that U.S. Navy Secretary Mabu said the following in a statement released Feb. 10, “The selection of Gabrielle Giffords, designated LCS 10, honors the former Congresswoman from Tucson, Arizona, who is known for supporting the military and veterans, advocating for renewable energy and championing border security.”
Roxanna Green, mother of 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green who was killed in the same shooting incident in which former Rep. Giffords was critically injured, is the ship's sponsor.
Mabus announced the naming of the USS Gabrielle Giffords in a ceremony in the Pentagon Courtyard attended by Giffords and Green.
Politico notes that Secretary Mabus said in a statement, "I am pleased to honor Gabrielle Giffords and the people of Arizona with the naming of this ship. Giffords and the ship's sponsor, Roxanna Green, are sources of great inspiration and represent the Navy and Marine Corps qualities of overcoming, adapting and coming out victoriously despite great challenges."
According to USAToday, the Navy indicates that "It is the 17th ship to be named for a woman, and the 13th ship to be named for a living person since 1850."
The naming of the new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is a departure by Secretary Mabus from the norm of naming LCS' after cities. But, as DefenseNews states, "Mabus, who as Navy secretary has the authority to name its ships."
The future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) is funded in the 2012 budget and will be an Independence LCS 2-class ship. Austral USA, a company located in Mobile, Ala. is expected to be awarded the contract in early 2012. Currently, the Navy is building 55 Littoral Combat Ship ships. LCS's are designed to extend fighting power into shallow coastal areas.
The length of the USS Gabrielle Giffords will be 419 feet with a waterline beam of 103 feet. It will displace approximately 3,000 tons and make speed in excess of 40 knots.