Navy to christen ship in honor of Gabby Giffords

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.

Giffords was shot in the head and nearly lost her life in a mass shooting in 2011 that killed six people and seriously injured 11 others. She stepped down in 2012 to focus on her recovery.

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.