Jackson County

‘I know they’re ours’ says Ingalls rep after US ships launch missiles

Dawn breaks on the day the Paul Ignatius, DDG 117, was launched at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula.
Dawn breaks on the day the Paul Ignatius, DDG 117, was launched at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula. Courtesy Huntington Ingalls Industries

The ships that launched a barrage of Tomahawk missiles into a Syrian air base late Thursday were built at Ingalls Shipyard — the USS Ross and the USS Porter.

The Ross is DDG 71 and the Porter is DDG 78.

Ingalls spokesman Bill Glenn recognized them when the story was reported late Thursday.

“I saw the story on CNN and it gave the names,” he said. “I know they’re ours, because I was here when they were built.”

The Ross and the Porter are the same class of ship — an Arleigh Burke–class Aegis guided-missile destroyer — as the one Ingalls is set to christen Saturday, the DDG 117.

DDG 117 is the 31st of this type of destroyer built at Ingalls. It is named for Paul Robert Ignatius, who held key leadership positions during the administrations of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

According to Ingalls, “Arleigh Burke–class destroyers are highly capable, multi-mission ships that can conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, all in support of the United States’ military strategy.

“They are capable of simultaneously fighting air, surface and subsurface threats. The ship contains myriad offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century.”

A number of news agencies reported Friday why the Tomahawk was the weapon of choice in the attack.

On Saturday, the christening of the Paul Ignatius (DDG 117) will be at 9 a.m.

Ignatius was the 59th secretary of the Navy, serving from 1967 to 1969, as well as assistant secretary of Defense in 1965, under secretary of the Army in 1964 and assistant secretary of the Army in 1961.

The christening this weekend will be a rare occasion because Ignatius is still alive and will be in attendance.

The ship’s sponsor will be Nancy Ignatius, his wife. Prospective commanding officer will be Robby Trotter. The principal speaker will be Adm. John Richardson, chief of Naval Operations. Also at the ceremony will be Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias and U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo.