USS Jackson commissioning date set in Gulfport
GULFPORT -- The Navy ship USS Jackson will be commissioned at 10 a.m. Dec. 5 in Gulfport.
The ship will be docked for several days on the state port's West Pier, where the commissioning will be held, said retired Navy Cmdr. Robert Hawley, chairman of the commissioning committee.
The versatile, shallow-draft ship can be outfitted for one of several possible missions: anti-mine warfare, counter-piracy and anti-submarine warfare.
The Navy describes the USS Jackson as a near-shore, littoral combat ship. Austal USA in Mobile built the $600 million ship, an aluminum tri-hulled vessel that is 419 feet long and 105 feet wide.
John Kelly, chief administrative officer for the city of Gulfport, worked with the Navy League of Mississippi to bring the commissioning to Gulfport.
The request went through the office of Ray Mabus, former Mississippi governor and secretary of the Navy. Mabus has noted it is the first Navy ship to bear the state capitol's name.
Allen D. Adkins, one of two commanding officers assigned to the ship, expects 3,000 people for the commissioning. Katherine H. Cochran, daughter of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran and the late Rose Cochran, will serve as the ship's sponsor. Katherine Cochran, an associate professor at the University of Southern Mississippi, served as maid of honor when her mother sponsored the USS Barry in 1991.
Once the ship is commissioned, it will become an official U.S. asset, Adkins said. The ship has two captains and two crews that switch out every six months, he said. He said the USS Jackson can travel 3,500 without a fill-up and has a top speed of 45-50 miles per hour.
After commissioning, the ship will have stops at a number of ports along the East Coast. Its home port will be in San Diego, Calif.