Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords of Arizona had a Navy vessel named in her honor during a ceremony at a Mobile, Alabama, shipyard Saturday afternoon.
Giffords joined others including Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, as the USS Gabrielle Giffords was christened in coastal Alabama. The 419-foot ship was built at the Austal shipyard and is the Navy’s 10th littoral combat ship designed to operate in shallow waters near the coast.
Giffords was badly wounded in a 2011 shooting that left six dead and 13 injured in Tucson. The Democrat left Congress and later founded an organization that supports gun control.
“In congress I was proud to support our armed forces. I love the Navy — I even married a sailor,” Giffords said as she kissed her husband Mark Kelly, a retired Navy captain and astronaut who stood by as she addressed the crowd. “Thank you to all who built this ship. She’s stealthy; she will defend freedom around the world.”
Giffords was chosen as the vessel’s namesake because of the characteristics she exemplified after the attack, officials said.