The ship's keel was authenticated by Ms. Barbara Miller, wife of the former superintendent of the Naval Academy, Vice Adm. Michael Miller. The authenticator etched her initials into the keel plate to symbolically recognize the joining of modular components and the ceremonial beginning of the ship.
"We are very honored to have the namesake of DDG 116, Capt. Hudner and his family, here to witness this milestone ceremony," said Capt. Mark Vandroff, DDG 51 class program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "These ships serve as a lasting reminder of the courage, leadership and intellectual contribution of the very best that the Navy-Marine Corps team has had to offer."
Medal of Honor recipient, Thomas Hudner, crash landed his plane in 1950 in an attempt to save the life of his wingman who was shot down by Chinese ground troops at the battle of Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War.
DDG 116 is the second of two Arleigh Burke class destroyers currently under construction at BIW. DDG 115, the future USS Rafael Peralta, was launched at BIW Nov. 1.
As a Flight IIA ship, Thomas Hudner will be equipped with the Navy's Aegis Combat System, the world's foremost integrated naval weapon system. This system delivers quick reaction time, high firepower and increased electronic countermeasures capability for Anti-Air Warfare. Arleigh Burke ships enable power projection, forward presence, and escort operations at sea in support of Low Intensity Conflict/Coastal and Littoral Offshore Warfare as well as open ocean conflict.
DDG 116 started fabrication Feb. 15, 2013, and will join the fleet in 2017 where she will serve as an integral player in global maritime security, engaging in air, undersea, surface, strike and ballistic missile defense.
As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships and special warfare craft.