Military and Police

Like Its Namesake, Navy’s USS Gabrielle Giffords is Ironclad and Formidable

“As one may suspect, being a survivor of such a chaotic ordeal in which carnage and loss of life is inescapable echoes resilience and fortitude, despite indelibly deep scars.”

Our latest naval warship, the USS Gabrielle Giffords, was commissioned in Texas on June 10, 2017, symbolizing the ironclad and formidable constitution of its namesake, former US Representative Gabrielle Giffords. Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Giffords said the ship bearing her name is “strong and tough, just like her crew.” I can appreciate her modesty; I lump her among the “strong and tough” as well.

Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords, serving as a Democrat congresswoman from Arizona at the time of an assassination attempt on her life in 2011, epitomizes an ironclad personal and professional constitution after being shot by Jared Loughner. At a Tucson, Arizona supermarket where then-Rep. Giffords was holding a meeting with constituents, Loughner opened fire. His bullets struck 19 people, one of whom was Mrs. Giffords. Shot in the head, Giffords endured a battle for her life, and although career-ending, made a remarkable recovery.

The hospital medical director overseeing the trauma unit at the time of the shooting stated that Giffords’ head wound was a “through and through” shot, indicating Loughner’s bullet essentially speared her brain, entering one side and exiting the other.

Loughner, who was 22 years old at the time of the shooting spree, had a known history of disgruntlement and a string of misconduct at the college he attended in Pima County, Arizona. Given his frequent outbursts, Loughner and community college campus police were not strangers to each other. Then-FBI Director Robert Mueller coordinated the Gabby Giffords shooting, having domain over the investigation because it involved a sitting US congresswoman.

Mr. Mueller is the currently assigned special prosecutor overseeing the allegations of American election tampering by Russia through which it is rumored Moscow played a role in ensuring President Trump was elected.

Overcoming Adversity

According to a NY Times report, “Several aides to Ms. Giffords were wounded, and her director of community outreach, Gabriel Zimmerman, 30, was among those killed. The girl who died was identified as Christina Green, a third-grader. The others killed were Dorothy Morris, 76; Dorwan Stoddard, 76; and Phyllis Schneck, 79.”

As one may suspect, being a survivor of such a chaotic ordeal in which carnage and loss of life is inescapable echoes resilience and fortitude, despite indelibly deep scars. At the time of the shooting, Ms. Giffords was considered a “centrist Democrat whose political stance encompassed support for right to bear arms doctrine, for stringent border security, and for diligent immigration enforcement measures.”

With her spirits undashed, Mrs. Giffords was able to attend and speak at the USS Gabrielle Giffords commissioning in Galveston, Texas.

The commissioning of the $475 million USS Gabrielle Giffords is a testament to our American forces opposing adversity and confronting national security threats. Whereas Mrs. Giffords battled for change by generating laws in the US House of Representatives from January 2007 until her post-shooting resignation in January 2012, the USS Gabrielle Giffords sets sail as a littoral combat ship (LCS) battling the scourge of international foes.

According to Fox News, as she spoke, Giffords “stood next to her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, who was [formerly] in the Navy. Kelly lived in Galveston County when he was stationed at Johnson Space Center in suburban Houston during his NASA service.”

Despite partial paralysis and a language impediment stemming from her brain trauma, Ms. Giffords said “I will never forget this day or the crew of the USS Gabrielle Giffords. Fair winds and following seas.”

Those words were spoken by a woman whose service to nation and perseverance in the face of violent adversity were deemed honorable and reason for the United States Navy to symbolize the namesake of one of its ships.

Stephen Owsinski

Stephen Owsinski is a Senior OpsLens Contributor and retired law enforcement officer whose career included assignments in the Uniformed Patrol Division and Field Training Officer (FTO) unit. He is currently a researcher and writer. Follow Stephen on Twitter @uniformblue.

Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.