Waving her on - All are invited to Friday sendoff for USS America

klnelson@sunherald.com Twitter: NelsonNews_atSHJuly 9, 2014 

PASCAGOULA -- Point Park will be the place to be Friday morning by 9 a.m. to see the USS America -- the first of her class -- leave Ingalls' shipyard heading for her homeport in San Diego with 1,000 sailors aboard.

The sendoff originally was scheduled for Thursday, but was rescheduled Wednesday evening to Friday.

The crew, in dress whites, will be standing along the rail.

Get there early, but be prepared for possible delays. Officials say ships often go through a series of checks that can delay departures.

Ideally, between 8:30 and 9 a.m., Capt. Robert A. Hall Jr. will address the crew and the Ingalls craftsmen who put this ship together and then begin the process of pulling away from the pier.

Point Park -- newly renovated with ample parking and a grassy amphitheater that can handle a crowd -- should be the easiest way to get close enough to see without interfering with the departure. The America sits right across the river and one small canal from this park.

Get to the park from U.S. 90 by going south on Market Street to the end. Take a right on Beach Boulevard, which ends at Point Park.

The park's $1.3 million in renovations includes rows and rows of paved parking. The grassy hill on the south side is the amphitheater facing out to sea. City officials said it should be a comfortable perch for viewing.

City spokeswoman Ann Pitre, who plans on going at 9 a.m., said the crowd should be able to follow the whole trip out.

"It's big," she said of the America, "so it's going to leave a big wake."

There will be a harbor pilot and tugs to help it get under way and guide it out.

On shore, there will be Boy Scouts handing out flags to spectators.

Steve Seely, a leader with Moss Point Troop 220, said a representative from Ingalls asked for help with the sendoff and more than a half-dozen scouts have responded. The aim is a sea of fluttering red, white and blue.

Seely said the neat thing will be that as the sailors stand along the rail, "they'll be standing there, able to see all the people at the Point waving them on."

The Sun Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service