Rep. Steven Palazzo hosts House members, leadership at Ingalls, Keesler this week

PASCAGOULA, Mississippi — U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo has been welcoming fellow congressmen and House leadership to the Mississippi coast this week, including a visit to Ingalls Shipbuilding’s Pascagoula shipyard with Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., on Wednesday.

The congressmen, both members of the House Armed Services Committee, met with shipbuilders and were briefed on the construction processes for the four classes of military ships built at Ingalls.

They toured the shipyard, visited various shops where ship units are assembled and toured amphibious transport dock John P. Murtha (LPD 26), which will launch later this year.

“These visits are important to show our regional congressional leadership the innovation we are implementing to reduce costs and the quality workmanship of our shipbuilders,” Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias said.

“We spent time with the congressmen talking about our build processes and the progress we are making across the yard, particularly on the LPD program,” he said. “We have a hot production line and are benefiting from a strong learning curve on this program, making the ships more affordable and providing a complex and quality product for our sailors and Marines.”

Byrne, who was elected last year to represent the 1st District in Alabama, said more than 2,000 residents of southwest Alabama go to work at the Pascagoula yard each day.

“At a time when our nation faces uncertainty and rising forces that seek to challenge our status as the world’s dominant power, it’s more important than ever that we have a strong and capable Navy,” he said.

“The ships produced here on the Gulf Coast are vital to our ability to project power and protect our interests abroad,” Byrne said. “I look forward to working with Congressman Palazzo on the House Armed Services Committee to ensure the Gulf Coast region presents a unified voice in support of the shipbuilding industry.”

It was Byrne’s first visit to the shipyard.

“I want to take every opportunity to educate my colleagues on the importance of the shipbuilding work we do right here in South Mississippi,” Palazzo said of the trip. “The more members of Congress who see how vital these ships are to our national security, the more they will support investments in future ships, like a 12th LPD 17 warship.”

Earlier this week, Palazzo also hosted House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for a tour of Keesler Air Force Base.

Gulflive
4/24/14