Ingalls Shipbuilding christened the U.S. Navy’s newest amphibious assault ship, the future USS Bougainville (LHA 8), during dockside ceremonies at the Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard Saturday morning.
“(These) ships, like the future USS Bougainville, make our Navy and Marine Corps team a potent fight; providing forward-posture across the globe, ready to respond to crisis and disaster,” said Under Secretary of the Navy Erik Raven, the event’s keynote speaker.
Raven also paid tribute to Ingalls’ shipbuilders.
“I see why the Department of the Navy has enjoyed such a long and successful relationship with this yard,” he said. “You are special, and together you represent the finest qualities of our great nation. Please remember this and remember that what you do matters. You play a critical role in defending our way of life.”
U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. James Adams III also spoke during the ceremony. Adams was nominated in July for promotion to lieutenant general and to serve as commandant for the Marine Corps Programs & Resources, but his promotion is one of hundreds that has been held up by U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, who announced Tuesday he was ending his blockade of those promotions.
“Bougainville’s christening symbolizes their enduring legacy – a legacy etched into the very soul of this vessel,” Adams said. “As was the case with Bougainville, the nation needs modern amphibious ships. They are the cornerstone of our nation’s global expeditionary crisis response force.”
Bougainville is the second ship to be named in honor of Bougainville Island in the Solomons, the site of a World War II campaign in which the Navy, Marine Corps and U.S. allies secured a strategic airfield from the Japanese forces in the northern Solomons, which aided in breaking the Japanese stronghold in the Pacific.
“Today is not only a day to celebrate our namesake, representatives of the successful outcome of a World War II campaign, but also the teamwork and collaboration of our United States Navy and Marine Corps that enabled it,” said Ingalls president Kari Wilkinson.
“To fulfill our mission here in the shipyard, our sailors and Marines serve as a stellar example of how this extended network works together to fulfill a bigger purpose.”
Bougainville’s ship sponsor is Ellyn S. Dunford, wife of Gen. Joe Dunford Jr., the 19th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the 36th Commandant of the Marine Corps.
“From naval architects and engineers to welders and the supply team, they experienced their own challenges, including a pandemic, and true to the spirit of those who fought at Bougainville, they all met the challenge with tenacity and overcame each challenge,” Dunford said.
Ingalls Shipbuilding has delivered 15 large-deck amphibious ships to the Navy, including the first two in the America class: America (LHA 6) in 2014 and USS Tripoli (LHA 7) in 2020. In addition, Fallujah (LHA 9) is currently under construction at the shipyard.