The following is the text of a news release from Huntington Ingalls Industries:
(PASCAGOULA, Miss.) — Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding division authenticated the keel for the company’s seventh U.S. Coast Guard national security cutter, Kimball (WMSL 756), on Friday.
“Kimball, like her sister ships, is being built to the highest-quality standards with outstanding cost and schedule performance, and the NSC team is energized to make this one the best yet,” said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias. “The national security cutter is the most technologically advanced ship in the Coast Guard fleet. And the ships are truly making a difference — from outstanding performance at Rim of the Pacific exercises to the continuous record-breaking drug interdictions — the NSCs are truly making America safer. It is our honor and privilege to be building these fine ships.”
The ship is named in honor of Sumner Kimball, who organized and directed the U.S. Life Saving Service and was a pioneer in organizing all of the different facilities associated with the service into what eventually would become the U.S. Coast Guard.
Adm. Paul Zukunft, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, was the ceremony’s keynote speaker. “I especially want to thank the shipbuilders because what you do today truly matters,” he said. “These national security cutters are helping disrupt a flow of crime. Last night, the Coast Guard cutter Bertholf seized its third self-propelled semi-submersible, interdicting over six tons of cocaine. That’s why we want Kimball to get to sea as soon as possible, and I know when this ship is ready, she will be ready to answer all bells.”
Kay Webber Cochran, wife of Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., is the ship sponsor and had her initials welded onto a steel plate to signify the keel had been “truly and fairly laid.”
“To all of the outstanding folks who work so hard on these impressive national security cutters — the engineers, the welders, the machinists, the metal workers, the electricians and more — your excellent work is recognized internationally,” Kay Webber Cochran said. “Your service and pride in workmanship are the reason why Mississippi has such a long-storied shipbuilding tradition of which we are so very proud.”