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Navy to commission USS Gabrielle Giffords

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    The USS Gabrielle Giffords, a Naval littoral combat ship built at the Austal USA shipyards, was docked on the Mobile River in Mobile, Ala. on Nov. 30. The ship is named in honor of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords of Arizona.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    The cityscape of Mobile, Ala., was seen behind the docked USS Gabrielle Giffords, a Naval littoral combat ship built at the Austal USA shipyards on the Mobile River in Mobile, Ala. on Nov. 30. The ship is named in honor of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords of Arizona.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Birds flew by the USS Gabrielle Giffords, a Naval littoral combat ship built at the Austal USA shipyards, docked on the Mobile River in Mobile, Ala. on Nov. 30. The ship is named in honor of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords of Arizona.

MOBILE, Ala. >> A naval program that has become a target for critics is preparing to commission the USS Gabrielle Giffords, named for the U.S. politician who survived an assassination attempt in 2011.

The USS Gabrielle Giffords, constructed by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama, has completed testing in the Gulf of Mexico and is scheduled to be commissioned in mid-2017. The company handed over the $475 million ship to the Navy on Friday.

Giffords was shot in the head during a mass shooting in Arizona in 2011 and helped christen the ship in 2015. It’s part of a hotly debated program that congressional critics slam as flawed and too expensive but that Navy leaders defend as a critical new step in naval warfighting.

The 421-foot-long Giffords will be the ninth in a series of high-speed vessels designed to navigate in shallow coastal regions known as littoral waters. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has cited the $12.4 billion spent for 26 littoral combat ships as the worst example of wasteful Pentagon spending.

The ship’s name also has been a target for conservatives who see it as promoting stricter gun laws, a cause Giffords has promoted. Some critics lampooned the ship as being gun-free, a bit of parody and fake news that was debunked on snopes.com.

The Navy said it chose to name the ship in honor of Giffords because of the perseverance she showed after the shooting.

“Courage comes in many, many forms — physical, mental, spiritual and political. Gabby has truly modeled courage and resilience,” Vice Adm. Philip Cullom said at the christening ceremony.

Constructed from aluminum and featuring a distinctive trimaran design, the Giffords is armed with missiles, machine guns and fast-firing weapons designed to hit a variety of targets. Its normal crew of 40 sailors and officers can be supplemented as needed for missions.

A sister ship of the Giffords, the USS Montgomery, sustained hull damage in October while navigating the Panama Canal. The same ship was damaged in a collision with a tugboat weeks before.

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  • The stench of Liberal hypocrisy here is overwhelming. Naming a heavily armed Combat ship after a major anti-gun politician. I mean, it sucks that she was attacked, and great that she recovered, but I hardly think that that rises to the standard of naming a Navy vessel after her, especially since she’s still alive, and hadn’t really done anything of notice prior to the attack, being a super junior member of Congress (only 4-5 years in office). VERY few people get that distinction. It should be based on a lifetime of exemplary service, or combat valor. This is like when Odummy got a Nobel Peace Prize (which the Nobel committee in hindsight, now regrets giving), just for getting elected. Psh….

  • I didn’t know getting shot in the head and then turning into an aimless, liberal clown anti-gun crusader who campaigns against the will and wishes of her constituents earns you your own battleship, but then again, we live in an age where Barack Hussein Obama was awarded the Nobel “Peace” Prize, while his cousins around the globe are blowing up cars and ramming trucks into markets and folks “who could be his son” are causing race riots and violence all across America. January can’t come soon enough!

  • To preclude possible future disgrace and embarrassment, you really ought to be dead and gone before something paid for by taxpayers is named after you. Heck, if the Navy wanted to stroke the public, it should’ve run a “name that warship” contest on Facebook.

    On the other hand, the Navy would likely have screwed up such a contest like the Army did when it tried to adopt its service song – which led to the butchery of “The Field Artillery Song.”

  • This federal, state and city governments should quit the practice of putting politicians on the pedestal by naming sites for them. So they may have done a good job, but that’s what they supposed to do….buildings, places, highways and now war ships. Anybody agree or disagree with this.

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