|Paul and Nancy Ignatius (seated) attended the start of fabrication ceremony for Paul’s namesake ship, the guided missile destroyer DDG 117. Also pictured (left to right): Lance Carnahan, Ingalls’ general hull superintendent; Robert Velazquez, friend of the Ignatius family; David Ignatius, Paul and Nancy’s son; Dr. Elisa Ignatius, Paul and Nancy’s granddaughter and Nancy’s maid of honor as the ship’s sponsor; Sarah Ignatius, Paul and Nancy’s daughter; George Nungesser, Ingalls’ DDG 51 program manager; Capt. Mark Vandroff, DDG 51 class program manager, Program Executive Office Ships; Cmdr. Ben Wilder, DDG 51 program manager representative for Supervisor of Shipbuilding Gulf Coast; and Rear Adm. David J. Gale, deputy commander for surface warfare, Naval Sea Systems Command. Photo by Lance Davis/HII|
Pascagoula September 30, 2014 - Huntington Ingalls Industries' Ingalls Shipbuilding division today marked the start of fabrication for the future Aegis-guided missile destroyer Paul Ignatius (DDG 117). Paul Ignatius, the ship's namesake, and his wife, Nancy Ignatius, the ship's sponsor, visited the shipyard to see steel cut for the destroyer.
Paul Ignatius is the 31st Aegis destroyer to be built at Ingalls. The start of fabrication signifies the first 100 tons of steel cut. From this point, shipbuilders will assemble the destroyer using modular construction, where pre-fabricated units are constructed separately and later lifted in place and integrated with other units.
"The start of fabrication begins to bring the ship to life," said Ingalls' DDG 51 program manager, George Nungesser. "Having Paul and Nancy Ignatius here with us today builds a relationship between them, the ship and our shipbuilders. As we continue to cut steel and assemble this next destroyer, the Ignatius family will play a big role in watching the ship transform from these pieces of steel into the mighty warship it will become, bearing Paul Ignatius' name."
Paul and Nancy Ignatius will visit the ship throughout its construction to witness progress and meet with Ingalls shipbuilders. Paul Ignatius served as Secretary of the Navy from 1967 to 1969 and was the Assistant Secretary of Defense during President Lyndon B. Johnson's administration. "This is the beginning of the process," he said. "While touring Ingalls, the complexity of building a ship is evident, and it's impressive how all the different parts will come together."
Ingalls is building two other destroyers in addition to Paul Ignatius. John Finn (DDG 113) is scheduled to be delivered in 2016, and Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) is scheduled to be delivered in 2017.
To date, Ingalls has delivered 28 DDG 51 destroyers to the Navy. The highly capable, multi-mission ship can conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, all in support of the United States' military strategy. DDGs are capable of simultaneously fighting air, surface and subsurface battles. The ship contains myriad offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century.