A tour of the USS Gabrielle Giffords

- Sitting at Pier 21 in Galveston sits a new addition to the United States Navy's fleet. The USS Gabrielle Giffords is a littoral combat ship, an LCS, an Independence, the 5th of its specific type to be commissioned.

The ship was built in Alabama and the Navy selected Galveston to be the city where it is commissioned because of where Giffords husband astronaut Mark Kelly worked.

"It's always good to learn something new and actually I think my crew has stepped up and are doing a great job doing that", says Commander Keith Woodley.

On board about 70 or so crew members that man the ship, is built from aluminum, ran by an electronics GOS system and capable of traveling 40 or more knots.

It's also built for fighting. "This is designed like a 57 millimeter, it shoots out 10 nautical miles and we shoot 220 of these per minute", says gunners mate 1st class petty officer Mark Dobrinin.

It also has a mission bay designed to hold just about anything and a flight deck that's twice as late as other similar sized ships have. "It's the size of 2 NBA basketball courts side by side", says Officer Dobrinin.

The ships Skipper says he's waited his whole life to run something like this. "First thing I wanted to do was drive ships, that's all I wanted to do and believe it or not I just wanted to come in for 4 years and get out, 29 years later I'm still doing it and enjoying it", says Commander Woodley.

The Navy decided to name the ship after the former Arizona congresswoman who survived from an assassination attempt for her resilience.

After the commissioning ceremony it will be stationed at Naval Base San Diego.

Tours are open to the public Friday and Saturday from 1:00 to 3:00 pm.

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