Jackson County

Ingalls completes ship, invites all to its sendoff

Ingalls Shipbuilding is inviting everyone to watch and wave as the John P. Murtha sails away from the shipyard at 9 a.m. Thursday.

The Murtha (LPD 26) will be heading for its Oct. 8 commissioning into the Navy in Philadelphia.

The best viewing will be from the east bank of the Pascagoula River at Point Park, which is at the west end of Beach Boulevard in Pascgaoula, or any place along Beach Boulevard.

If the weather is good, Ingalls employees plan to pass out American flags to wave, an Ingalls spokesman said.

The Murtha is the 10th San Antonio–class amphibious transport dock to be built at Ingalls. It was turned over to the Navy in a ceremony in May. Ingalls has at least two more ships to complete in that class.

After its commissioning, the ship’s homeport will be San Diego. It is named in honor of the late John P. Murtha, who represented Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District from 1974 to 2010. Murtha was a Marine who served 37 years and earned the Bronze Star with Combat “V,” two Purple Hearts and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry for service in Vietnam.

Ingalls has the 11th LPD, Portland (LPD 27), christened and under construction. And the shipyard has received more than $300 million in advance for the 12th ship in the class, Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28).

The ships are 684 feet long and 105 fee wide and are used to land Marines, their equipment and supplies via air-cushion or conventional landing craft and amphibious assault vehicles. They accommodate helicopters or vertical takeoff and landing aircraft such as the Osprey. The ships are designed to support a wide array of Marine air and ground operations.