Gabby Giffords with her husband, Navy Captain and NASA astronaut Mark E. Kelly at the christening. Photo from Giffords' Facebook page
Gabby Giffords with her husband, Navy Captain and NASA astronaut Mark E. Kelly at the christening. Photo from Giffords’ Facebook page

Former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was seriously wounded by a gunman in 2011, christened a Navy warship Saturday named in her honor and destined for San Diego.

The USS Gabrielle Giffords will be the Navy’s tenth littoral combat ship and the fifth ship in the trimaran-style Independence class. San Diego will be its home port when it enters the fleet in 2017.

“An honor to help christen the future USS Gabrielle Giffords — a day I will always treasure!” she wrote on her Facebook page. “To the men and women who are building her, and the sailors who will serve aboard her, thank you!”

The christening took place at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, AL, with Second Lady Jill Biden in attendance.

Giffords was shot in the head and nearly lost her life in a mass shooting outside Phoenix that killed six people and seriously injured 11 others. She resigned from Congress in 2012 to focus on her recovery.

The ship is the 16th Navy ship to be named for a woman, and only the 13th ship to be named for a living person since 1850.

The Navy is building a total of 50 littoral combat ships in two classes.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.