USS Gabrielle Giffords interest overwhelms Navy, potential tourists turned away

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The U.S. Navy underestimated the public's interest in its newest war ship. Hundreds waited in line for as long as three hours to take a public tour of the USS Gabrielle Giffords, which is in Galveston this weekend for its commissioning ceremony on Saturday.

Public tours were extended by an hour due to the demand, but were stopped at 4 p.m. with dozens still in line waiting the board.

Upset tourists claimed the process lacked communication and was disorganized.

VIDEO: Political heavyweights come out for pre-commissioning party
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Celebrities and political heavyweights showed up for a pre-commission party to honor Gabrielle Giffords.

"Let me in," said George Sandoval, who told Eyewitness News he'd been waiting for close to three hours to see the independent variant littoral combat ship. "I'm not going to get in. I want in."

There are tours scheduled for Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. after the ship-side ceremony, and the Navy said there are discussions about extending the public visitation time because of the high demand.

The ship is the 16th to be named for a woman and the 13th named for a living person since 1850. It is 419 feet in length and was built in Mobile, Alabama. Its home port will be San Diego.

VIDEO: Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., waits to tour the USS Gabrielle Giffords
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Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., waits to tour the USS Gabrielle Giffords.

Stay with on Saturday for a live stream of the commissioning ceremony at noon.

If you'd like to witness the commissioning ceremony yourself, it will begin at noon on Saturday, June 10, at Pier 21 of the Port of Galveston.

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