USS Gabrielle Giffords

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USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10)
USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) underway in the Philippine Sea on 1 October 2019 (191001-N-YI115-2128).JPG
USS Gabrielle Giffords in the
Philippine Sea, 1 October 2019
United States
Name: Gabrielle Giffords
Namesake: Gabrielle Giffords
Awarded: 16 March 2012[1]
Builder: Austal USA[2]
Cost: US$475 million[3][4][5]
Laid down: 16 April 2014[1]
Launched: 25 February 2015[6]
Sponsored by: Roxanna Green,[7][8] Jill Biden[9]
Christened: 13 June 2015[10]
Acquired: 23 December 2016[11]
Commissioned: 10 June 2017[12]
Homeport: San Diego, California[4][13]
Status: Active[13]
Badge: USS Gabrielle Giffords crest.png
General characteristics
Class and type: Independence-class littoral combat ship
Displacement: 2,307 tonnes light, 3,104 tonnes full, 797 tonnes deadweight[1]
Length: 127.4 m (418 ft)[1]
Beam: 31.6 m (104 ft)[1]
Draft: 14 ft (4.27 m)[1]
Propulsion: 2× gas turbines, 2× diesel, 4× waterjets, retractable Azimuth thruster, 4× diesel generators
Speed: 40 kn + (46 mph; 74 km/h), 47 knots (54 mph; 87 km/h) sprint
Range: 4,300 nmi (8,000 km; 4,900 mi) at 20 kn + (23 mph; 37 km/h)
Capacity: 210 tonnes (230 short tons)
Complement: 40 core crew (8 officers, 32 enlisted) plus up to 35 mission crew
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Sea Giraffe 3D Surface/Air RADAR
  • Bridgemaster-E Navigational RADAR
  • AN/KAX-2 EO/IR sensor for GFC
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
Aircraft carried: list error: {{clear}} list (help)
MH-60R/S Seahawks
MQ-8 Fire Scout

USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10) is an Independence-class littoral combat ship of the United States Navy.[1] The ship is named after former United States Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot along with eighteen other people during a 2011 shooting in Tucson, Arizona.[7] The ship's name was announced by then-Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus on 10 February 2012.[7][8][16] Gabrielle Giffords is the 16th U.S. naval ship to be named for a woman by the United States Navy, and the 13th U.S. naval ship since 1850 to be named after a living person.[17]

Construction on Gabrielle Giffords began with her keel laying on 16 April 2014, at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Alabama.[18] Rep. Giffords, still recovering from injuries sustained in the 2011 assassination attempt, attended the ship's keel-laying ceremony,[18][19] and with the assistance of an Austal welder, welded her initials into a plate that would become part of the ship's hull.[19] Gabrielle Giffords was launched, and then moved from her construction facility to drydock, on 26 February 2015.[20] The ship was christened in a ceremony held at the Austal USA shipyard on 13 June 2015,[9][10] and Second Lady of the United States Jill Biden served as ship sponsor at the christening.[9] The ship was delivered to the U.S. Navy on 23 December 2016,[11] and commissioned the following spring on 10 June 2017, in Galveston, Texas.[3][13]


Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, left, and her husband, Mark Kelly, congratulate ship's sponsor Roxanna Green at a ceremony to announce the U.S. Navy's naming of the newest littoral combat ship

In 2002, the U.S. Navy initiated a program to develop the first of a fleet of littoral combat ships.[21] The Navy initially ordered two trimaran hulled ships from General Dynamics, which became known as the Independence-class littoral combat ships after the first ship of the class, USS Independence.[21] Even-numbered U.S. Navy littoral combat ships are built using the Independence-class trimaran design, while odd-numbered ships are based on a competing design, the conventional hull Freedom-class littoral combat ship.[21] The initial order of littoral combat ships involved a total of four ships, including two of the Independence-class design.[21]

On 29 December 2010, the Navy announced that it was awarding Austal USA a contract to build ten additional Independence-class littoral combat ships.[22] On 10 February 2012, Naval Secretary Ray Mabus announced that LCS-10, the fifth Independence-class ship to be built, would be named USS Gabrielle Giffords.[7][8][16] Secretary Mabus also announced that the ship's sponsor would be Roxanna Green, the mother of Christina-Taylor Green, age 9, who was killed in the Tucson shooting that wounded Giffords in January 2011.[8][16]


Gabrielle Giffords off San Diego on 5 July 2017

During the ship's naming announcement on 10 February 2012, Secretary Mabus said that the Navy had chosen to name the ship Gabrielle Giffords because Rep. Giffords' name had become "synonymous with courage" and that the congresswoman had "inspired the nation with remarkable resiliency."[16] The secretary also called the naming a tribute to Navy families, stating that Giffords was a "Navy spouse" who made efforts to support the Navy during her time in Congress.[16] Giffords is married to Captain Mark Kelly (Ret.), a former naval aviator and astronaut.[16][23]

USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10), on patrol in the South China Sea, June 2020

The media reported that some former military members, including retired U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps officers, were criticizing the decision to name the ship after Giffords as part of a perceived trend toward naming ships for political reasons.[17] Some commentators, including retired Commander Darlene Iskra, the first woman to command a U.S. Navy vessel,[24] and Robert Farley, professor at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce and military affairs scholar,[25] noted in response that several ships in the US Navy, including Henry M. Jackson, Carl Vinson, John C. Stennis, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush were named for prominent politicians who were still alive at the time of the naming.[24][26] Commander Iskra also wrote in a Time magazine editorial that the still-active Carl Vinson was named for a congressman responsible for barring women from combat roles in the Navy for nearly 50 years.[24]

In connection with the controversy, United States Senator Roy Blunt added an amendment to the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act which required the Navy to report to Congress on how effectively it was adhering to established naming conventions.[17] The resulting report highlighted a consistent record of making "occasional exceptions" to established ship-naming conventions, beginning in 1798 when Secretary Benjamin Stoddert broke with naming convention by naming one of the original six frigates of the United States Navy as USS Chesapeake.[17] The report also noted that while Secretary Mabus considered honoring Giffords and other victims of the Tucson shooting by naming LCS-10 after the Arizonan city of Tucson, consistent with current naming conventions for littoral combat ships to honor U.S. cities, this was not possible because USS Tucson, an active Los Angeles-class submarine, currently bears the name.[17]

After the ship's 2015 christening, military-focused newspaper Stars and Stripes said that criticism of the ship's naming had become "muted", possibly due to recognition that the ship's naming was "by no means unprecedented."[17]

Ship history[edit]

After commissioning, Gabrielle Giffords conducted qualification trials on her official maiden voyage from Texas to her home port of San Diego, California via the Panama Canal, arriving at Naval Base San Diego on 5 July 2017.[27][28] She has been assigned to Littoral Combat Ship Squadron One[29]

During summer 2019 the ship was equipped with MQ-8C Fire Scout drones and Naval Strike Missiles'and from September deployed in an offensive role in the seas off China.[30] She returned to San Diago in January 2021.[31]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10)". Naval Vessel Register. Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  2. ^  This article incorporates public domain material from the Congressional Research Service document: "Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) Program: Background and Issues for Congress" (PDF).
  3. ^ a b Steven Romo (10 June 2017). "USS Gabrielle Giffords commissioned in Galveston". ABC 13 Eyewitness News (KTRK-TV Houston). Archived from the original on 10 June 2017. Retrieved 10 June 2017. Woodley said the $475 million ship has limited crew of about 70.
  4. ^ a b "US Navy to commission future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) on 10 June". 16 May 2017. Archived from the original on 10 June 2017. Retrieved 10 June 2017. Gabrielle Giffords will join her sister LCSs in their homeport of San Diego in July and continue testing and training for future deployed operations.
  5. ^ "Warship USS Gabrielle Giffords Commissioned in Texas". New York Times. 10 June 2017. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  6. ^ PEO LCS Public Affairs (27 February 2015). "Future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) Launches" (Press release). Navy News Service. NNS150227-21. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d Cavas, Christopher P. (11 February 2012). "New LCS named for Gabrielle Giffords". Navy Times. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  8. ^ a b c d Freking, Kevin (10 February 2012). "Navy names ship for former congresswoman Giffords". Yahoo! News. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 28 September 2015. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  9. ^ a b c "Navy ship christened for former Arizona Rep. Giffords". The Arizona Republic. 13 June 2015. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Navy Christens Littoral Combat Ship Gabrielle Giffords" (Press release). U.S. Department of Defense. 11 June 2015. NR-228-15. Archived from the original on 14 June 2015. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  11. ^ a b "Navy Accepts Delivery of Future USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10)" (Press release). Naval Sea Systems Command. 23 December 2016. Archived from the original on 26 December 2016. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  12. ^ Naval Surface Forces Public Affairs (10 June 2017). "USS Gabrielle Giffords Commissioned in Galveston" (Press release). Navy News Service. NNS170610-01. Archived from the original on 11 June 2017. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  13. ^ a b c Juan A. Lozano (10 June 2017). "Warship USS Gabrielle Giffords Commissioned in Texas". The Associated Press. Archived from the original on 10 June 2017. Retrieved 10 June 2017. A new warship named after former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was wounded during a deadly 2011 shooting, has been put into active service following a commissioning ceremony in Texas.
  14. ^ "General Dynamics Enhances LCS 10 with New Anti-ship and Land Attack Cruise Missile System". General Dynamics Corporation. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  15. ^ "NSM – Naval Strike Missile – Now Has a U.S. Navy Designation". Naval News. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  16. ^ a b c d e f Martinez, Luis (10 February 2012). "Navy Announces USS Gabrielle Giffords". ABC News. American Broadcasting Company. Archived from the original on 28 September 2015. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  17. ^ a b c d e f Olson, Wyatt (19 June 2015). "From Hope to Giffords: The Navy's long history of unconventional ship names". Stars and Stripes. Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  18. ^ a b Program Executive Office Littoral Combat Ships (16 April 2014). "Keel Laid for Future USS Gabrielle Giffords" (Press release). Navy News Service. NNS140416-23. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  19. ^ a b Finch II, Michael (16 April 2014). "Gabrielle Giffords signs initials onto future littoral combat ship bearing her name". Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  20. ^ Blindner, Rachelle (26 February 2015). "Navy ship named for Gabby Giffords hits water in Alabama". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on 10 July 2015. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  21. ^ a b c d "US Navy Fact File: Littoral Combat Ship Class – LCS". US Navy. Archived from the original on 2 March 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  22. ^ Special from Navy Office of Information (29 December 2010). "Littoral Combat Ship Contract Award Announced" (Press release). Navy News Service. NNS101229-09. Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  23. ^ "Commander Mark Kelly Announces Retirement From NASA, Navy". Fox News. 21 June 2011. Archived from the original on 24 June 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2011.
  24. ^ a b c Iskra, Darline (27 February 2012). "More on Ship-Naming Controversies: About the USS Gabrielle Giffords". Time, Inc. Archived from the original on 4 May 2015. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  25. ^ "Curriculum Vitae, Dr. Robert M. Farley. Accessed 13 January 2016". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
  26. ^ Farley, Robert (10 February 2012). "USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS-10)". Archived from the original on 16 June 2015. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  27. ^ Eckstein, Megan (6 July 2017). "Littoral Combat Ship USS Gabrielle Giffords Arrives In San Diego After Panama Canal Transit". United States Naval Institute. Archived from the original on 16 September 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  28. ^ "USS Gabrielle Giffords arrives in San Diego". 5 July 2017. Archived from the original on 26 February 2018. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  29. ^ "LCS Squadron 1". Archived from the original on 26 February 2018. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  30. ^ US Navy’s ship-killer missile bound for China
  31. ^

External links[edit]