WLOX-TV Biloxi

U.S. Secretary of the Navy ‘inspired’ by Ingalls Shipbuilding

By Mike Lacy

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - Wednesday was a homecoming for U.S. Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro.

While in the Navy, he worked on the USS Bulkeley at Ingalls.

“I actually spend a year and a half living in one of these buildings here on the shipyard working with my crew, building it from the time it was an empty hull to the time that sailed off,” he said.

So far, Del Toro said the Navy’s investment with Ingalls continues to be steady.

“Ingalls plays an incredibly important role,” he said. “And we’ve made that commitment. We’re building, I believe it’s 15 ships that we have either under construction or on contract for the Navy.”

While he was proud of the past here, he knows that a strong, up-to-date Ingalls – with its 11,500 employees – will mean a strong future for the Navy.

“I’m inspired by the transformation that has taken place and how we’re constantly moving to make these processes better, more effective, and quite frankly, deliver on time and on cost for the American people,” he said.

Del Toro spent more than two hours at the shipyard on Wednesday, which included a briefing and tours of three ships.

Joining him were Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith and Rep. Steven Palazzo.

“He’s been at sea, he’s a Navy man, a military man, and he knows what he’s talking about,” Wicker said. “So, we’re glad to have him here to show him what we think is the best yard in the United States of America.”

That was a message sent loud and clear.

“I mean we get results here,” Hyde-Smith said. “This is money well spent, and when it’s appropriated and it comes to Ingalls for shipbuilding and the national security, they are just outstanding in being about to articulate what they’ve done with the money and they have results.”

As Ingalls goes, so does our economy.

“Sometimes, I feel like we become complacent when we are voting for appropriations and authorizing money for new ships,” Palazzo said. “People don’t understand how important that is to our way of life here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast but also providing for our common defense around the world.”