Austal USA in Mobile, Ala., celebrated the keel laying of the future USS Kingsville (LCS 36) at our ship manufacturing facility today. Kingsville is an Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), one of 18 that the Navy has contracted Austal to build. The ship is the first U.S. Navy ship named for the city of Kingsville in Texas.

A keel laying ceremony is the formal recognition of the start of a ship’s construction. At Austal USA, the keel laying symbolically recognizes module erection in final assembly and the ceremonial beginning of a ship.

The ship’s sponsor is Katherine Kline, a member of the sixth generation of the King Ranch family, decedents of Captain Richard King who founded the King Ranch located in Kingsville, Texas, in 1853. The Naval Air Station Kingsville, located three miles from Kingsville was founded in 1942 and continues a special relationship with the King Ranch.

As the keel authenticator today, Kline welded her initials onto an aluminum keel plate with the assistance of Austal USA A-class welder, Mr. Joseph Bennett, Jr.