GALVESTON — The USS Fort Worth is now manned and ready for action.
The Navy's next-generation warship was placed in service on Saturday morning at a celebration in Galveston.
It's the final step after years of dreams and construction. Dozens from Tarrant County were in the crowd; those who couldn't make the trip to the Gulf Coast watched a live broadcast of the ceremony in Fort Worth.
It is Navy tradition to hoist colors, blow one loud whistle, and and — on command — send sailors running toward their newly-commissioned ship.
"It doesn't get any better than this," said Navy Secretary Gordon England.
There's one big difference in this commissioning ceremony. "Normally this is an East Coast or West Coast type of event," said Jason Fulton who lives in Clear Lake.
It's an honor that took grit and tenacity, with years of work by Rep. Kay Granger (R-Fort Worth) for her home town, and also for Galveston.
"We said from the very beginning, please, please have the commissioning in Texas because it's a Texas ship and we knew how many Texans would be here," Granger said.
"It's state-of-the-art, a new breed litoral ship," said Galveston resident Hayden Honicker. "Faster, more agile, ready to fight the Navy's next-generation battles."
"It's a long time coming if you ask me," said USS Fort Worth Commander Warren Cupps. "But I'm a little prejudiced, having been born in Fort Worth."
Navy veteran Kevin Fitzpatrick expressed gratitude that this kind of tradition lets him and others goes a long way toward knowing "that somebody's thinking about them."
At the same time, 280 miles away in Fort Worth, dozens cheered the commissioning of the USS Fort Worth on a big screen TV in Sundance Square.
The Navy has named ships after Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Corpus Christi. And now — finally Fort Worth — an honor many feel is long overdue.
"I think its way too long to do that," said retired sailor Rocky Mireles. "They should have done it a long time ago."
"We support the military, and we just thought this would be a monumental thing for the city," added Fort Worth resident Laura Baird.
The festivities continue in Tarrant County on Monday, when the crew of the USS Fort Worth throws out the first pitch at the Texas Rangers game.