PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP)—It took First Lady Michelle Obama two swings to smash open the sparkling wine she used to christen a ship in honor of the Coast Guard’s first female commissioned officer. The ceremony July 23 in Pascagoula, Miss., just south of the Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding facility, where the cutter was built drew about 3,000. Obama praised Capt. Dorothy C. Stratton as a pioneer, saying: “I stand in awe of her life.”

CHRISTENING—First lady Michelle Obama breaks a bottle of sparkling wine on the bow of the third U.S. Coast Guard National Security cutter Stratton (WMSL 752) in Pascagoula, Miss., as Mike Petters, president of Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, looks on.

Stratton joined up during World War II and eventually oversaw more than 10,000 enlisted women and 1,000 commissioned officers. She earned the Legion of Merit before leaving the Coast Guard in 1946 and died in 2006.

The ship will be delivered next summer and patrol waters off northern California on two-month missions. It will be able to deploy two helicopters and smaller boats.

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