MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) -- It was an exciting day for the Port City. The newly christened USS Mobile headed home to its homeport in San Diego, Calif.

The captain and crew had been docked at Austal USA in Mobile since its commissioning more than two weeks ago -- training and making final preps before they said farewell Thursday morning.

The USS Mobile was built right here in the Port City by Mobilians and Austal.

It's not every day you see a ship designed, built and commissioned in the same city as its name.

"It's very special, we're the only ship that has all those three distinctions in active service today so its a special moment and a special time, a moment that will also be marked in history," said the ship's sponsor, Rebecca Byrne.

The ship not only holds a special tie to Mobile but also with the people who live in the city.

Grand Bay residents, Barbara and Stan Heine have never seen a naval ship leave before and wanted to help send off the USS Mobile.

"It just means a lot, I'm just emotional about it really," said Barbara Heine.

"My dad was in the navy he was on the Bowdidge, my best friend's dad was on the New Orleans, said Stan Heine, "you kind of wonder what they were thinking when they were leaving. My dad left San Diego back in the 40s its just emotional."

Mobile's flag proudly displayed on the ship, swaying in the wind as the ship left to join the active U.S. Naval fleet.

"I just wish them the best and I hope they can enjoy the Naval experience and stay out of harms way," said Stan Heine.

The USS Mobile sounded off the ship's horn for a salute before she made her journey home.

All content © 2021, WALA; Mobile, AL. (A Meredith Corporation Station). All Rights Reserved.

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