PASCAGOULA, Miss., — HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division recently christened the Navy’s third America-class amphibious assault ship Bougainville (LHA 8).
“Today is not only a day to celebrate our namesake, representatives of the successful outcome of a World War II campaign, but also the team work and collaboration of our United States Navy and Marine Corps that enabled it,” Ingalls Shipbuilding President Kari Wilkinson said. “To fulfil our mission here in the shipyard, our sailors and Marines serve as a stellar example of how this extended network works together to fulfill a bigger purpose.”
Bougainville is the second ship named in honor of Bougainville Island in the Solomons. The name commemorates a successful World War II campaign enabled by close coordination among the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps and our allies. During the campaign, which lasted from 1943 to 1944, allied forces secured a strategic airfield from Japanese forces in the northern Solomon Islands, helping the allies break the Japanese stronghold in the South Pacific.
In his remarks, Major Gen. James Adams III, nominee for deputy commandant for Programs & Resources, Headquarters United States Marine Corps, honored the Americans who fought during the Bougainville campaign.
“Bougainville’s christening symbolizes their enduring legacy – a legacy etched into the very soul of this vessel,” Adams said. “As was the case with Bougainville, the nation needs modern amphibious ships. They are the cornerstone of our nation’s global expeditionary crisis response force.”
Under Secretary of the Navy Erik Raven served as the keynote speaker.
“(These) ships, like the future USS Bougainville, make our Navy and Marine Corps team a potent fight; providing forward-posture across the globe, ready to respond to crisis and disaster,” Raven said.
He also addressed the Ingalls shipbuilders who have built Bougainville.
“I see why the Department of the Navy has enjoyed such a long and successful relationship with this yard. You are special, and together you represent the finest qualities of our great nation. Please remember this and remember that what you do matters. You play a critical role in defending our way of life,” Raven said.
Bougainville is sponsored by Ellyn S. Dunford, wife of Gen. Joe Dunford Jr. 19th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and he was also the 36th Commandant of the Marine Corps. Ellyn Dunford officially christened Bougainville by smashing a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow of the ship.
She spoke proudly of the perseverance shown by the Navy and Ingalls Shipbuilding team the past few years of construction on Bougainville during the ceremony.
“From naval architects and engineers to welders and the supply team, they experienced their own challenges, including a pandemic, and true to the spirit of those who fought at Bougainville, they all met the challenge with tenacity and overcame each challenge,” Dunford said.
The America-class LHA is a multi-functional and versatile ship that is capable of operating in a high density, multi-threat environment as an integral part of an expeditionary strike group, an amphibious task force or an amphibious ready group.
Ingalls has delivered 15 large-deck amphibious ships to the U.S. Navy. The shipyard delivered the first in the new America class of amphibious assault ships (LHA 6) in 2014. The second ship in the America class, USS Tripoli (LHA 7), was delivered to the Navy in early 2020. In addition to Bougainville, Fallujah (LHA 9) is also under construction, and the company authenticated the keel during a ceremony in September 2023.