Navy Names Littoral Combat Ship Gabrielle Giffords

Story Number: NNS120210-25Release Date: 2/10/2012 3:57:00 PM
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From Department of the Navy

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced Feb. 10 that the next Independence variant littoral combat ship (LCS) will be named USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10).

The selection of Gabrielle Giffords, designated LCS 10, honors the former congresswoman from Tucson, Ariz. who is known for supporting the military and veterans, advocating for renewable energy and championing border security. Giffords recently resigned from Congress to recover from wounds she sustained in an assassination attempt in 2011.

"The Navy motto is Semper Fortis, Always Courageous," said Mabus during a ceremony held in the Pentagon Courtyard. "Unwavering courage has defined the Navy for 236 years and it is what we expect, what we demand of our Sailors every single day. So it's very appropriate that LCS 10 be named for someone who has become synonymous with courage, who has inspired the nation with remarkable resiliency and showed the possibilities of the human spirit."

Mabus also announced the ship's sponsor will be Roxanna Green. Green is the mother of Christina-Taylor Green, the nine-year-old girl who was killed while attending the meeting of constituents where Giffords was shot. A ship's sponsor plays an important role in the life of the ship, naval tradition holds that her spirit and presence guide the ship throughout its service life.

"On that dark, tragic day now more than a year ago, Christina-Taylor Green was taken from us. A nine-year-old who had just been elected to the student council, she wanted to become a more active participant in our democracy. Her mother, Roxanna Green, continues to express her daughter's hope for the future and, as the President said, "of a nation as good as she imagined."

"I am pleased to honor Gabrielle Giffords and the people of Arizona with the naming of this ship," said Mabus. "Giffords and the ship's sponsor, Roxanna Green, are sources of great inspiration and represent the Navy and Marine Corps qualities of overcoming, adapting and coming out victorious despite great challenges."

The ship is part of a dual block buy of LCS class ships announced by Mabus in December 2010. By procuring both versions of the LCS - Lockheed Martin's semiplaning monohull and General Dynamic's aluminum trimaran - the Navy is stabilizing the LCS program and the industrial base with an award of 20 ships each; increasing ship procurement rates to support operational requirements; sustaining competition through the program; and enhancing foreign military sales opportunities. Both designs meet the Navy's LCS requirement. However, the diversity provided by two designs provides operational flexibility.

Littoral combat ships perform a vital role in the Navy's ability to execute DoD's Defense Strategy. USS Gabrielle Giffords will be designed to defeat growing littoral threats and provide access and dominance in the coastal waters. A fast, agile surface combatant, the LCS provides the required warfighting capabilities and operational flexibility to execute focused missions close to the shore, such as mine warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and surface warfare. The LCS class of ships will be outfitted with reconfigurable payloads, called mission packages, which can be changed out quickly as combat needs demand. These mission packages are supported by special detachments that will deploy manned and unmanned vehicles and sensors in support of mine, undersea and surface warfare missions.

Gabrielle Giffords will be 419 feet in length, have a waterline beam of 103 feet, displace approximately 3,000 tons, and make speed in excess of 40 knots. The construction will be led by Austal Shipbuilding in Mobile, Ala.

This is the 16th ship to be named for a woman and the 13th ship to be named for a living person since 1850. This is the first ship to bear Giffords' name.

For additional information about the Littoral Combat Ship class, visit

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2/19/2012 11:17:00 AM
Sir, Please reconsider your decision to name a ship after Gabrielle Giffords. And John Murtha for that matter. Too many heros who deserve the honor in lieu of those two, for reasons you have certainly heard a lot about. Sincerely, Jeff Webb

2/17/2012 7:19:00 AM
Navy vessels should be named in the traditional manner, after Navy and Marine Corps heroes and other nautical items. Congressman Giffords has no direct relationship to the Navy, other than to be related to a Naval Officer. She did nothing to deserve having a ship named after her. I wish her the best of health in her recovery, but naming a ship after her is just plain wrong, and smacks of political gratuities.

2/16/2012 9:22:00 PM
Assigning Congressman Murtha's name to a US Navy ship was a sorry spectacle. While Mrs. Giffords, a Navy wife, showed grit in her recovery, she does not meet the standards of past ship namesakes. Any Navy ship, especially a combatant, should bear a name with Naval Heritage. Spruance, Burke, Fletcher, The Sullivans, Mitscher, O'Hare and Monsoor. This must not be political. There are names of Navy/Marine Corps MOH recipients to last through the end of the century without resorting to this.

2/15/2012 9:12:00 PM
It is apparent that the SecNav is having a tough time finding names for our nations fighting ships. While I have nothing against Ms. Giffords I cannot equate her service in congress at a 6 figure salary and lots of perks with that of a member of the Navy/Marine Corps team who has served in combat.

2/15/2012 3:42:00 PM
This is just plain wrong. What about the men and women of the services that gave their lives to support freedom? Anyone of them would be a better choice than this political one. Need to rethink this and correct it soonest.

2/15/2012 3:25:00 PM
Although former congresswoman Gifford is making a valiant effort in her recovery, surely she does meet even the lowest of criteria for name a Navy vessel after her. There are plenty of MOH recipients who are much more deserving.

2/14/2012 3:35:00 PM
AS a retired US Naval officer, I believe that there are many more deserving candidates than Congressman Murtha or Congresswoman Giffords.

2/14/2012 1:21:00 PM
I think most of the people who have commented on this article are missing the point. Gabrielle Gifford may not have served her country in uniform, but she has still served her country, and in the course of that duty she was shot by someone who threatens the very ideals of what this country is founded on. It takes physical and mental strength, determination, and a whole lot of hard work to recover from such a critical injury. If that's not representative of the U.S. military, what is?

2/14/2012 8:01:00 AM
Congratulations to the newest hull in play, and a littoral ship at that. *I* think it is entirely respectful and an honorable motion to name the ship after her. Despite some of these comments, there are many ships named after deceased soldiers and airmen and one named after this woman does nothing to degrade or insult he men and women who have died in service. And to have the mother of the little girl as the sponsor is even more poignant. Smooth Sailing, Gabby !

2/13/2012 7:32:00 PM
Instead of naming a ship after someone who was a target, name it for someone who was murdered while defending our "secured" border, with a weapon allowed into criminal hands by this administration the USS Brian Terry has a nice ring to it

2/13/2012 5:53:00 PM
Glad I'm not the only one who thought this was completely ridiculous. Mabus is just another politician who has totally lost touch with reality...but hey, we was in the Navy as an officer for 2 whole years! I'm sure that qualifies him to run the whole thing...

2/13/2012 1:51:00 PM
Shame on the SECNAV! All of you sheep that support naming a littoral combat ship after a congresswoman need to look deeper. Stop with the Bravo Zulu stuff. This is an outrage. I guess the SECNAV will not be able to find the moral courage to do the right thing and rescind this action. Probably too much political pressure. I emplore all Navy personnel to voice their outrage in every public venue and through every available medium. The Navy has done wrong by our Sailors/Marines and Giffords. Shame!

2/13/2012 1:33:00 PM
OUTRAGEOUS! How could the SECNAV allow this incredible lapse of judgement. Littoral combat ships should be named after a deserving Navy SEAL, US Marine or US Soldier who gave their life in combat. How could the Navy allow this? Who directed it? It smacks of political interest. The naming of a Navy vessel should memorialize one of our heroes and that honor should be bestowed up the family of a deserving servicemember. My grandfather served in the Navy during WWII, so I care what our Navy does.

2/13/2012 1:32:00 PM
Very disappointing. I would have hoped that the ship would have been named after someone who had at least served in the military, let alone the Navy. Another reason to be extremely disappointed with our politicians. She has not served in our Navy or other armed forces and yet gets this honor. Disgusting, when you think about it.

2/13/2012 11:41:00 AM
I can't believe that with all the Navy/Marine Corps MOH or Navy Cross awardees from 11 years of war in Iraq/Afganistan that we can't find a suitable marine or sailor to name a warship after? What happened to Giffords is a tragedy but she is not deserving...and I'm sure our enemies are going to quake in their boots when the USS Gabby Giffords steams over the horizon..

2/13/2012 10:51:00 AM
I am very disappointed that she was chosen to have a ship named after her. Yes what happened to her was horrible. Yes she supports the military BUT I think that the men and women WHO HAVE DIED DEFENDING OUR COUNTRY are MUCH more deserving to have a ship named after them!!!

2/13/2012 8:16:00 AM
What a shame, not about the person, but about another breakdown in US Navy naming policy.

2/12/2012 2:34:00 PM
I hope Secretary Maybus has the "Courage" to call the parents of Sgt Rafael Peralta and explain to them how a LIVING former congresswoman is more deserving than their son. He only smothered a grenade to save the lives of his fellow Marines, I don't see how he or any of the over 6 thousand servicemen or 144 servicewomen who have lost their lives in combat for our nation aren't far FAR more deserving than Ms Giffords.

2/12/2012 11:15:00 AM
I have nothing but respect for Ms. Giffords, but I think the Navy should pull a name from the very long list of people who died for their country. Ms. Giffords did not voluntarily go to that store knowing someone was going to shoot at her. If she had known would she have still gone? The list of names of our American military personel who knowingly went into harms way and came home in a flag covered box is extremely long. Couldn't the Navy have taken a name from that list?

2/12/2012 10:20:00 AM
Seriously? It's tragic what happened to her but she was shot by some nutjob in a Safeway parking lot. Does this really qualify her to have a ship named after her? I figured we'd have some more deserving folks worthy of the same honor. This is political cynicism in an election year. I weep for my beloved Navy.

2/12/2012 7:46:00 AM
I hope Secretary Mabus has the "Courage" to call the parents of Sgt Rafael Peralta to tell them why their son, who smothered a grenade to save his fellow Marines in Fallujahin 2004. Actually any of the over 6k servicemen or 144 dervice women are more deserving yhan a live former congresswomen.

2/12/2012 5:23:00 AM
Really? Have we completely run out of Navy heroes who have been wounded in the service of their country, that we now have to pander to political notions by naming a ship after a Congresswoman whose sole claim to fame is stopping a bullet from an insane youth at a supermarket? Taking nothing away from the courage of the Congresswoman and her CAPT husband, but does anyone remember when we named ships after people and places that meant something special to Navy traditions?

2/11/2012 8:19:00 PM

2/11/2012 12:50:00 PM
No disrespect intended but how does getting being a wounded politician rate getting a ship named after her. I can think of more than a million names that would be more appropriate. Letís start with our wounded warriors. Better yet how about all those that did not return from combat overseas? The Navy needs to step back and look hard and rediscover what rates a ship being named for someone.

2/11/2012 12:27:00 PM
How downright stupid. What has Giffords done to deserve this honor besides getting shot. I wish her well, but she does not rate to have a ship named after her. There are many Navy pilots, who have been shot down, soldiers who have died serving our country, also Generals and Admirals who deserve it. The shooting was a criminal incident, it had nothing to do with Heroism. What is wrong with Mabus, but he probably was ordered by 0bama "Dear Leader" to do this. Its insulting to the Navy.

2/11/2012 12:08:00 PM
Yes, Gabby has gone through a great deal, but, does this warrent a US Naval Vessel named after her? When are we going to stop bowing to POLITICAL pressure? What about all the Medal Of Honor winners -- don't they deserve to have their names used on Naval Vessels? Stop the PI -- Political Influence.

2/11/2012 11:28:00 AM
SECNAV what are you thinking?????? Gabrielle Gifford!!! You couldn't think of anybody else that is more deserving? Shame on you.

2/11/2012 9:33:00 AM
Somehow, I doubt this is one of the names recommended by the Naval History and Heritage Command. Why can't politicians keep the politics out of ship names? If the Navy had thought this one through, Ms. Giffords would have been the ship's sponsor or been the one to christen or commission a ship named COURAGE. Instead, the politicians have consigned generations of Sailors who will serve in her to the derision of their shipmates on the waterfront long after these politicians are out of office.

2/10/2012 9:58:00 PM
Gimme a break. I have nothing against the congresswoman, but really, is this deserving? There is absolutely no tradition in the Navy anymore with regards to ship naming. What about SSTG Giunta? Medal of Honor? Why not him? Why not John Lehman for that matter? Who has done more? This is purely political and Im sick of it.

2/10/2012 8:20:00 PM
Well at least she married a sailor. I believe Capt. Kelly, has done more for the USN and our country than the former Rep. from Arizona ever did.

2/10/2012 8:02:00 PM
With all due respect to Congresswoman Giffords and everything she has endured, the trend of naming ships for politicians MUST STOP! Republicans and Democrats both do it, shamelessly. We need to return at the least to the naming conventions the Navy itself establishes for a class (LCS: American communities), and better yet, to our long-last tradition. Why not another LEXINGTON or SARATOGA? Or even an ARIZONA for which the Congresswoman could be sponsor. The political pandering makes me sad.

2/10/2012 7:35:00 PM
I don't think the SECNAV could have made a more poltically motivated name...oh wait, there's also the John Murtha-but at least he had been a Marine. Clearly Navy tradition is out the window for political expediency.

2/10/2012 7:17:00 PM
Please stop naming USN ships after politicians - any politicians. There are very many deserving heroes and hero ships to be given this honor. It has become literally ridiculous. This is NOTHING against Rep Giffords.

2/10/2012 6:26:00 PM
Naming a Navy ship after her is ridiculous! Her shooting was a tragic incident and her recovery miraculous. But she has done NOTHING to earn the honor of having a naval ship named after her. SHE WAS ONLY A POLITICIAN, NOT A HERO! There are numerous military service members that DIED defending our country. THEY are the people that deserve the honor of having a ship named after them. SECNAV, you screwed up big time!!

2/10/2012 4:33:00 PM
What a shame that a US Navy ship would be named for someone who's only feat was to be the unfortunate target of a deranged man. It should have been named for someone that went above and beyond the call of duty, like a Medal Of Honor receiptant from the Iraq or Afghanistan Wars. Stickly a political move.

2/10/2012 4:30:00 PM
What a well deserved honor for Gabby. After all she has been through. Brovo Zulu

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The Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the honorable Ray Mabus shakes hands with retired Navy Capt. Mark Kelly, husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, from Arizona, at the Pentagon.
120210-N-AC887-113 WASHINGTON (Feb. 10, 2012) The Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the honorable Ray Mabus shakes hands with retired Navy Capt. Mark Kelly, husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, from Arizona, at the Pentagon. Mabus announced that the name of the 10th littoral combat ship, LCS 10, will be USS Gabrielle Giffords. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Sam Shavers/Released)
February 10, 2012
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