Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced Feb. 10, 2012, that a littoral combat ship will be named for former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who stepped down from her seat as Representative of Arizona’s 8th congressional district in January 2012, saying she needed time to recover from the wounds received in an apparent assassination attempt in January 2011.
In a ceremony attended by Giffords in the Pentagon’s center courtyard, Mabus announced that the tenth LCS and fifth Independence-class variant would be commissioned as the USS Gabrielle Giffords.
“You make this occasion special by your presence,” Mabus told Giffords. “What you did in Congress for our military, and for those who serve in it, gave substance to what America feels for those in uniform.”
“The name this ship bears, and the story represented by that name, will inspire all those who come in contact with her,” he continued.
“Unwavering courage has defined the Navy for 236 years, and it is what we expect and what we demand from our sailors every single day,” Mabus said. “So it’s very appropriate that LCS 10 be named for someone who has become synonymous with courage, who has inspired the nation … and showed the possibilities of the human spirit.”
Mabus also announced during the ceremony that the ship’s sponsor would be Roxana Green, mother of Christina-Taylor Green, a 9-year-old girl who was killed by the same assailant at the event where Giffords was shot in the head. Five other people were also killed in the January 2011 attack, and 13 wounded.
“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,'” Mabus said.
He added that Giffords and Green “will be a part of the life of this ship, and our Navy’s history.”
Giffords’ husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, and former Missouri Representative Ike Skelton, former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, also attended the ceremony.