USS Gabrielle Giffords commissioned in Galveston

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Take a tour aboard the USS Gabrielle Giffords, which is currently docked in Galveston.

The U.S.S. Gabrielle Giffords had a commissioning ceremony full of big name politicians and celebrities, meaning a massive security undertaking for the island.
The independence class ship is a relatively new design created for high speeds and combat in coastal waters, Commander Keith Woodley said.

"Think of a hybrid. This is what the ship is. It can do three different warfare areas by simply switching out the modules," Woodley said.

ORIGINAL REPORT: USS Gabrielle Giffords open for public tours this week in Galveston


Woodley said the $475 million ship has limited crew of about 70. Other ships can need 10 times that.
"Everyone has to do double duty, basically. It is interesting," he said.

Many people wearing different hats, but keeping the ship agile and adaptable without sacrificing fire power.

While the crew is clearly proud of the vessel, they're also proud of its name, honoring former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in 2011.

"We want to make sure we project that [strength] as we try to take this over the horizon to make sure that we honor her," Woodley said.
Giffords' husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly lived in Houston, which is why Galveston was chosen to host this commissioning this weekend.
Galveston authorities are working with the U.S. Secret Service, Capitol Police and other agencies for security in what is considered one of the island's most high profile events.

After the commissioning and tours this weekend, the ship is going to San Diego. Then, the crew will have more testing and training for a few months before taking on their first mission, Woodley said.

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