(Joshua Roberts — Bloomberg )

The Navy said Friday that its newest Littoral Combat Ship, a small, agile surface vessel, will be known as the USS Gabrielle Giffords. The ship’s “sponsor” will be Roxanna Green, the mother of Christina-Taylor Green, the 9-year-old girl who was killed in the Tucson shooting that wounded Giffords in January 2011.

In a statement, the secretary of the navy, Ray Mabus, described Giffords and Roxanna Green as “sources of great inspiration” who “represent the Navy and Marine Corps qualities of overcoming, adapting and coming out victoriously despite great challenges.”

The future USS Gabrielle Giffords will be the 17th ship to be named for a woman and the 13th to be named after a living person, according to the Defense Department.

The naming of Navy vessels has not always been a simple affair. In April 2010, after the service unveiled plans for the USS John P. Murtha, critics lobbied Mabus to reconsider, citing the former congressman’s opposition to the Iraq war. Earlier this year, the Navy announced plans for the USNS Cesar Chavez, after the labor leader, drawing objections from conservatives.

On Friday, Giffords attended the event where the Navy announced the plans for the ship in her honor. Hours earlier, she had joined President Obama as he signed the last piece of legislation she had authored before her retirement, which grants law enforcement officials greater authority to combat illicit drug trafficking on the border.

“I’m confident,” Obama said in a statement, “that while this legislation may have been her last act as a congresswoman, it will not be her last act of public service.”

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