Pascagoula will lose something that has been a large part of its landscape for the past couple of years as the USS America embarks Thursday on her maiden voyage, headed to her home port of San Diego.
USS America sailors will be in their Navy whites, "manning the rails."
Residents are encouraged to wear their patriotic colors and watch from the newly renovated Point Park in Pascagoula or the western-most area of Pascagoula beach.
Be there about 9 a.m., according to the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, which will be passing out small American flags to wave as the ship passes.
The 844-foot-long amphibious assault ship was delivered to the U.S. Navy by Ingalls Shipbuilding in April. Since then, the America has been docked at Ingalls to take on sailors and tie up loose ends before leaving.
Essentially, the America has been a floating city. About 1,000 sailors in addition to officers and Marines have called this ship their home for the last few months.
However, some are ready to get to the ship's home port.
"I am honored to be a plank owner on a ship named after our great nation. Being a part of a pre-commissioning ship has been a once in a lifetime experience," said Lt. Quincy Seawright, America's assistant operations officer. "While this has been an incredible journey, I am so excited to be heading home to San Diego to see my wife and kids. Although the ship has not been on an traditional deployment, it will feel like a true homecoming in a couple months."
The ship will leave Thursday morning and America's two-month journey will take the sailors around South America to Southern California.
Residents who want to observe from their own boats should keep a safe distance.
The America will be commissioned in San Francisco on Oct. 11.
It is the fourth ship to bear the name.
Construction on the ship began in July 2009 at Ingalls. It was christened in October 2012.