| PASCAGOULA - The USS Mississippi came home Friday for
the only time in its 18-year history. It
will head to a ghost
yard later this year.
The ship's 622 crewmen and officers
side by side at parade rest in the
midmoming breeze as two tugboats
guided her dockside.
The Mississippi will be here for five
giving the crew time to visit the area
Mississippians a final opportunity
tour the ship. The U.S. Navy will begin
the ship in August in Newport News,
The nuclear-powered guided missile
arrived at Naval Station Pascagoula
strains of a band playing "Go
Mississippi." The song brought
strong memories for Lt. Cmdr. Arlis
the ship's supply officer.
The Brandon native remembered has 1962
class writing a verse for the state
"I would have thought I had forgotten
that, but hearing the band play it
it all back," the 15-year veteran
Ethridge, who lives with his family
News. was returning to Mississippi
first time since 1981.
None of his family lives in Brandon
but he plans a trip there over the
to check out his old neighborhood.
Ethridge was one of 12 Mississippians
the ship named for the Magnolia state,
they all eagerly awaited a
chance to see family or visit familiar
"I gotta do a crawfish boil tomorrow,
providing they're in season,"
j.g. Mick Glancey, who grew up in Long
He looked forward to family members
him at the dock and to seeing a few
Mardi Gras parades.
"The first time I ever saw the
was after (Hurricane) Camille when
came to the Coast," the 33-year-old
recalled. He joined the Navy 14 years
working his way up from an enlisted
an officer. It was his first visit
Coast in several years. "I wonder
much crawfish cost now," Glancey
"Oh, yeah, and what about the
What have they done to the Coast?"
Like many of the Mississippi's crew,
already knows his next assignment.
be helping to decommission the ship.
The USS Mississippi is the fourth ship
bear the state's name. The first was
steamer that fought in the Civil War.
The second was a battleship commissioned
in 1908, which sailed with President
Roosevelt's "Great White Fleet."
The third served in both the Atlantic
Pacific fleets in World War II. It
in Tokyo Harbor for the signing of
The present USS Mississippi's mission
to provide anti-aircraft and anti-submarine
protection to an aircraft carrier task
In 1981, the ship sailed alongside
Nimitz when its F-14 fighters shot
Libyan fighter jets.- In 1989, the
provided support to the Navy's Battle
Sixth Fleet off the Lebanese coast
to the killing of a U.S. Marine colonel
The ship participated in the Gulf War,
escort services and launching Tomahawk
missiles into Iraq. The Mississippi
also participated in anti-narcotic
in the Caribbean.
Monday, the ship's commander will return
a historic sterling silver tray bearing
Navy crest to Gov. Kirk Fordice. The
been used aboard the last two ships
USS Mississippi. State officials will
it until another ship bearing the name
Petty Officer Michael Brandau of Long
will stay with the Mississippi until
end because he handles personnel. "It
was kinda neat
and ironic to be aboard a ship named
your home state, although after having
aboard an aircraft carrier like the
it was kinda
small," Brandau said. The Mississippi
is 585 feet long and 63 feet wide.
a draft of 30.5 feet
D'lbervflle native Bruce Tickell has
three years aboard the Mississippi.
ship was probably the best thing that
me," he said. "It's a real
ship, and it's kinda sad to see it