Ingalls celebrates keel authentication ceremony for U.S.S. Bougainville

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All of the pieces are starting to come together for the U.S.S. Bougainville. Ingalls Shipbuilding has been working on an American class amphibious assault ship since October of 2018.
Today a keel authentication ceremony was held to celebrate the progress.
News 25’s Andrew Scherer takes us there.

The U.S.S. Bougainville is one step closer to being a part of the u-s military.
Honoring naval tradition, Ingalls Shipbuilding praised the completion of another milestone.
Kari Wilkinson says, “The keel as you see behind me, is the first couple of big units that form the keel of the ship. So it’s really the backbone of the platform, and we will continue to erect units on that keel-line as we build up the ship.”
The keel is the most important part of the ship, providing a main structure for the entire ship.
Ellyn Dunford says, “The ceremony that we just held, was, I engraved, wrote out my initials for them to be engraved on the ship.”
Ellyn Dunford, wife of General Joe Dunford, will serve as the ship’s sponsor.
Dunford says, “I’ve been on a number of navy ships and you never realize how much goes into the creation of them, the maintenance of them, and the design to make sure that everything happens right.”
If everything goes as planned, the Bougainville will be the largest Ingalls produced ship to date. Vice president of program management Kari Wilkinson tells news 25 that the ship will truly be in its own category.
Wilkinson says, “It’s a huge platform, it carries with it formidable presence if you will. The other thing that it has, from a humanitarian aid perspective, I think sometimes that might be under-appreciated, the medical facilities on this platform are truly outstanding.”
Ingalls is currently the sole builder of large-deck amphibious ships for the navy, and has built over 15 ships since their partnership started.
Dunford says, “I don’t want go to bed at night worrying about if there’s going to be a fire on the ship, is there going to be a problem with the navigation system. I don’t think our families will have to have that worry.”
Although no official completion date is set, the Bougainville has just a few more steps until it’s fully commissioned into the military.
In Pascagoula, Andrew Scherer, News 25.