USS Tulsa christened in Alabama with current, former mayors in attendance

MOBILE, Ala. (KTUL) -- The USS Tulsa -- the nation's 16th littoral combat ship -- was christened Saturday in Mobile, Ala.

Worth roughly $350 million, the advanced high-speed and agile 419-foot aluminum trimaran combat ship was built for endurance, speed and superior seakeeping by Austal USA.

The USS Tulsa honors its namesake and upon completion will defend the U.S. around the globe, said Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle.

“We’re equally excited to share this celebration with an amazing patriot in Kathy Taylor who has served veterans and active duty military in so many ways, and now infuses her spirit as the sponsor into this incredible ship and her crew," said Perciavalle.

Taylor was Tulsa’s 38th mayor and is currently Chief of Economic Development Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum. Both traveled to Alabama for the christening.

Taylor's administration hired the first veteran’s liaison in the mayor’s office, helped establish the first veteran’s court in the nation, formed the Tulsa Veterans Advisory Council and worked with local colleges to increase veteran enrollment and completion of college. In 2006, Taylor visited all branches of the United States Armed Forces as a member of the U.S. Department of Defense civilian task force traveling throughout the Middle East. She later partnered with Tulsa’s 211 Service Helpline to improve communication about services and benefits available to active duty military and veterans.

Traditionally, the christening of a ship is where the ship's sponsor blesses the ship by breaking the bottle of champagne on the bow of the ship and ceremonially gives the ship its name. The roll of sponsorship represents a lifelong relationship with the ship and her crew.

The USS Tulsa launches in mid-March and is scheduled for delivery in 2018. She has a maximum speed of more than 40 knots, a voluminous 28,000 square foot mission bay and a flight deck capable of simultaneously holding two H-60 helicopters.

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