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Amphibious transport dock ship Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28).
Amphibious transport dock ship Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28). (Facebook)

Ingalls Shipbuilding christens amphibious transport dock ship Fort Lauderdale

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (Tribune News Service) — The amphibious transport dock ship Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28) was christened at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula on Saturday in front of a select number of in-person attendees and a livestream audience.

“Shipbuilding is about teamwork and bringing together the most intellectually and physically challenging efforts we can imagine for a common purpose,” said Ingalls president Kari Wilkinson. “We each leverage our essential and unique abilities to estimate, engineer, plan, procure, fit, weld, install, test and ultimately deliver a ship that is so much more than just a product.

“I consider everyone here today and watching from other places to be a part of that resilient and resolute team. We are now, together, a part of the legacy of the future USS Fort Lauderdale. (Note: ships do not earn the “USS” moniker until commissioned by the U.S. Navy).

The Fort Lauderdale is named after the historic Florida city, which has deep-rooted ties to the Navy, dating back to the 1830s and including the city’s role as a key training center during World War II. LPD 28 is the first ship to be named in the city’s honor.

“Fort Lauderdale has had a close, long connection to the armed services,” said Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, Saturday’s keynote speaker. “The people of today who serve in our military, especially in the Navy, have come to understand and appreciate the city of Fort Lauderdale.

“I want to thank those men and women who serve in our armed services. Thank you for your gallantry, and for the commitment and sacrifice that you and your families make on behalf of each and every one of us who live in the United States.”

Fort Lauderdale is the 12th ship in the San Antonio class. Ingalls was awarded the contract to build LPD 28 in December 2016, her keel was laid down in October 2017 and she was launched in March 2020.

“Once delivered, this ship will join our Navy/Marine Corps team and expand the advantage we have against our adversaries,” said Vice Adm. William Galinis, commanding officer of Naval Sea Systems Command. “There are few nations that can build ships like this. Our United States shipbuilding industrial base is the envy of every major Navy in the world. The talents and skills of our shipbuilders, combined with the tenacity and toughness of our sailors and Marines, make this team second to none.”

Meredith Berger, who served as deputy chief of staff under former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and is the current assistant Secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment, served as the ship’s sponsor and broke the traditional bottle of sparkling wine across the Fort Lauderdale’s bow.

“We are finally here together to celebrate the christening of the Fort Lauderdale,” Berger said. “In these times, together doesn’t quite look like what it used to. Some of us are here at Ingalls, some are watching remotely from home, but we are all together in spirit. Through our ties to this ship, we strengthen the relationship between the military and the nation.”

©2021 Advance Local Media LLC.

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