The Gabby: Navy to commission USS Gabrielle Giffords

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.

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.


USS Gabrielle Giffords Christened As Navy’s First Gun-Free Warship

MOBILE, Ala. — Seeking to honor a retired congresswoman and 2011 shooting victim in the most considerate and respectful way possible, the Navy today christened the future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10), a first-of-its-kind, gun-free warship.
Designed to hold a core crew of 40 sailors, the Independence-class littoral combat ship has been stripped bare of its Mk 110 57-millimeter gun, all four of its Mk2 .50-cal machine guns, its Evolved SeaRAM 11 cell missile launcher, and its entire cache of small arms, which are typically issued to boarding teams and watch standers.
“Having this mighty warship be 100% gun-free not only helps to honor its heroic namesake, Gabby Giffords, but it also helps the Navy to steer clear of promoting a culture of violence,” said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who reportedly lobbied hard to get Congress and the Secretary of Defense on board with leaving the Navy’s newest addition to the fleet completely defenseless.
“Once commissioned and put into service,” Mabus continued, “this vessel will truly embody the Navy’s new motto of Semper Modestis— always considerate.”
The Navy Secretary went on to say that he hopes Giffords sets a new trend Navy-wide, and that it’s merely the first ship of many to go weapons-free.
“We have this whole new generation of millennials joining the Navy and becoming sailors on a daily basis, and most of them don’t even like guns,” he said. “So it’s important we listen to their concerns and do what we can to adapt to them.”
Mabus also said that going gun-free with the Giffords was a huge cost saver, and that much of the money saved on armament for the vessel was able to be redirected to a vegan-friendly galley, unisex uniforms for the whole crew, and numerous “safe spaces” throughout the ship — places where sailors can go to relax and decompress whenever they feel overly-stressed by the rigors of life at sea.
Though Mabus and numerous other attendees at the ceremony seemed genuinely excited about christening the Navy’s first gun-free warship, in a somewhat ironic twist, both former congresswoman Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, were surprisingly unenthusiastic about the concept.
“Listen, it’s no secret that both Gabby and I are big proponents of reasonable gun control, and we really appreciate this gesture being made by the Navy, but the idea of sending a warship out into this turbulent world without any weapons whatsoever is completely irrational,” said Kelly, himself an astronaut and retired Navy captain.
“Like, seriously, this isn’t going to end well.”
Though still recovering from the trauma she suffered in 2011 and unable to speak in lengthy sentences, Giffords was much more concise upon being asked what she thought of the Navy making her namesake ship completely gun-free.
“Dipshits,” she said.


The Gabby: Navy to commission USS Gabrielle Giffords

© The Associated Press In this Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, photo, birds fly by the USS Gabrielle Giffords, a Naval littoral combat ship built at the Austal USA shipyards, docked on the Mobile River in Mobile, Ala.
MOBILE, Ala. –  A naval program that has become a target for critics is preparing to commission a new vessel named after a well-known shooting survivor.

Constructed by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama, the USS Gabrielle Giffords 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, the former Arizona congresswoman who was shot in the head during an assassination attempt in 2011, 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 become 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 Admiral 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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