March commission for new US destroyer Ralph Johnson

Image: HII
Image: HII

The US Navy’s next Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, the USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), will be commissioned on March 24 at Charleston, South Carolina.

US Navy secretary Richard V. Spencer said Ralph Johnson was the 64th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, and the 30th DDG 51 class destroyer built by the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) shipyard.

Commanded by Cmdr Jason Patterson, it is the first warship named for Medal of Honor recipient Marine Pfc. Ralph Henry Johnson.

Johnson, a native of Charleston, posthumously received the Medal of Honor for using his body to shield two marines from a grenade in the Vietnam War, absorbing the blast and dying instantly in March 1968.

The keel of Ralph Johnson was laid down in 2014. The ship was launched on December 12, 2015 and christened on April 2, 2016 at the HII shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

The DDG 51 class ships are Aegis Baseline 9 integrated air and missile defence destroyers with increased computing power and radar upgrades.

After commissioning in Charleston, Ralph Johnson will head for her homeport at Everett, Washington.

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