US Navy commissions San Diego-bound USS Gabrielle Giffords

SAN DIEGO — The U.S. Navy’s newest ship, which is named for a former congresswoman from Arizona and will be homeported in San Diego, was commissioned Saturday during a ceremony in Galveston, Texas.

The littoral combat ship (LCS-10) USS Gabrielle Giffords is named for the former Democratic congresswoman who survived a would-be assassin’s bullet during an appearance in her Tucson district in 2011.

“Today you deliver the USS Gabrielle Giffords. The day after tomorrow, you set sail for San Diego. And you set sail with the spirit and the character of an American hero we are proud to name this ship after,” said Adm. William Moran, vice chief of naval operations. “So God bless her, God bless this ship and God bless this great land we call America.”

The 421-feet, $475 million ship was constructed by Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama, and arrived in Galveston last weekend for Saturday’s commissioning, before setting sail for its home port of San Diego on Monday.

The USS Gabrielle Giffords is the ninth in a series of high-speed vessels designed to navigate in shallow coastal waters while detecting mines, quiet submarines and fast surface vessels, according to the Navy.

Giffords helped christen the ship in 2015. Her husband is retired astronaut Mark Kelly, a former Navy captain who was stationed in Galveston County while serving at NASA.