WLOX-TV Biloxi

Chief of Naval Operations says connection with Ingalls is solid
By Mike Lacy

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - Adm. Michael Gilday has had a long history with Ingalls.

Thirty-seven years ago, he first came here as a midshipman in the Naval Academy, and while in the Navy, he sailed on many Ingalls-built ships.

He was impressed then, and he’s impressed now as Chief of Naval Operations.

“These facilities are incredibly impressive,” he said after his official tour on Friday morning. “But, just like our Navy, at the end of the day, the advantage that you really bring, whether it’s an industry, or whether it’s in a combat unit, it’s the people. And so the people that I’ve come in contact with today, not only do they exude competence, but they’re passionate about what they do.”

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith agreed.

“You want to be here, you want to be what you’re doing, but you’re part of our national defense,” she said. “And, to that, we are all grateful for every employee here.”

Gilday added that the long-term connection with Ingalls is solid.

“Ingalls’ success is the United States Navy’s success and vice versa,” he said. “So, that relationship is important.”

The importance of the day for the future of Ingalls was not lost on Sen. Roger Wicker.

“This is the top man in the Navy. Top officer. Four-star admiral. A member of the joint chiefs of staff,” he said. “I mean, he is one of the decision-makers about our nation’s shipbuilding program, and we’re certainly going to help him. Sen. Hyde-Smith and I and the rest of our delegation – we’re determined to help him get the funding to get a 355-ship Navy and to give the people who’ve stepped forward and volunteered to serve our country - give them the best that we can possibly have. The best in the world.”