By Martin Matishak - 06/11/15 04:39 PM EDT
The U.S. Navy on Saturday will christen one of its littoral combat ships after former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).
“The christening of the future USS Gabrielle Giffords marks the beginning of what is certain to be a long life for this great ship," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a statement Thursday.
"It is also a celebration of the skill and dedication of the men and women who have built LCS 10 and the courage of her namesake. This ship truly embodies the Navy motto of Semper Fortis — Always Courageous,” he added.
Former Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.), who was also wounded in the shooting, succeeded Giffords in the House, but lost the seat in a close election of 2014 to Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.).
Vice President Biden’s wife, Jill, the ship's sponsor, will break a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow at the Austal USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala., to formally christen the ship in a time-honored Navy tradition, according to the Defense Department.