It was an emotional day as the U.S.S. America sailed from Ingalls Shipyard. Friday, the U.S.S. America said goodbye to the shipyard it called home for more than five years.
Workers were sad to see the project they worked so closely on finally leave, but it was a proud moment for all at Ingalls. Michael Crawley, the President of the Pascagoula Metal Trade Council, says, "It is big ‘cause this goes into the fleet to defend our nation, to defend me, you, and everybody else, and it’s something great to know that the workers here produced this ship to go out and defend our country."
The pride and patriotic duty Crawley describes is shared by the many workers who watched the ship sail away. While Crawley reminisces about his days working on ammunition carriers, he says the U.S.S. America has an extra element of patriotism. Crawley says, "For this whole company, and for all the people who worked on it, all the workers that built the ship, it’s great. It’s something you don't get to see every day."
As the U.S.S. America pulled away from the Ingalls Shipyard, workers looked on at their hours of work finally paying off. Brian Cuccias, the President of Ingalls Shipbuilding, says, "It’s just an awesome sense of accomplishment. It’s really a proud moment to see what the shipbuilders of Ingalls did, producing such a fine warship as the America, and as it sails away, it’s kind of a culmination of all the efforts and it’s just a great sense of accomplishment. I'm proud of all our shipbuilders."
Now, workers are on to the next project, a similar amphibious Navy ship, the Tripoli. For Ingalls, this new project is an opportunity for workers to once again show the Navy what they can do. Cuccias closes, "It shows you really how committed they are to building projects like the America, and I know they're going to be really engaged in building the Tripoli even better than the America."
The Tripoli will now fill the space left behind by the America.