Former Mississippi Governor and now Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has chosen his 1966 graduating class of Ackerman High School as honorary sponsors of the newest Navy ship, the U.S. Choctaw County. Several members of the class are expected to attend when class member Theresa Pitts of Starkville officially christens the high-speed landing vessel on Sept. 15. in Mobile, Ala.
Groups from Choctaw County, Ala. and Choctaw County, Ok. also will attend the event. The ship is being built by Austal USA where the ceremonies will be held. Work started in October last year.
The Choctaw County is the second ship of its kind designed to provide fast transport of troops and equipment to almost any type of combat zone.
In October 2011 the U.S. Navy announced plans to honor Choctaw County with the naming of a ship. The upcoming vessel — a Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) — will simultaneously honor the three American counties named Choctaw County, in Alabama, Mississippi, and Oklahoma.
“I grew up in Choctaw County, Miss., where people work hard to raise their families and provide for their children,” Mabus said in announcing the plan. “I chose to name JHSV after Choctaw County to honor those men and women who represent rural America.”
USNS Choctaw County will bear hull number JHSV-2.