Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Ingalls Shipbuilding Launches Arleigh Burke-Class Destroyer Ralph Johnson (DDG 114)
Pascagoula December 15, 2015 - Huntington Ingalls Industries Ingalls Shipbuilding division launched Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), the company’s 30th Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) guided missile destroyer, on Saturday.
“The last week of translating this quality ship across land and then launching it from our drydock is no small task, and our shipbuilders accomplished it in a very efficient manner,” said George Nungesser, Ingalls’ DDG 51 program manager. “All crafts and personnel making up this DDG shipbuilding crew have performed very well, and we were able to launch DDG 114 ahead of schedule. It’s a nice milestone to accomplish as we end the year.”
Capt. Mark Vandroff, the Navy’s DDG 51 class program manager, added, “This is an exciting milestone and represents a significant amount of effort by our Navy and industry team to get the ship to this point. We’re looking forward to completing outfitting efforts, undergoing test and trials and delivering another highly capable asset to our fleet.”
Ingalls has built and delivered 28 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers. There are currently four more under construction at Ingalls, including Ralph Johnson, which is scheduled to be christened in the spring of 2016. John Finn (DDG 113) was christened in May and is expected to undergo sea trials in 2016. Paul Ignatius (DDG 117) celebrated her keel-authentication milestone in October and is expected to launch in the first half of 2017. Delbert D. Black (DDG 119) started construction in July and is scheduled for keel laying in the second quarter of 2016.
DDG 114 is named to honor Pfc. Ralph Henry Johnson, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions that saved others during the Vietnam War. Johnson shouted a warning to his fellow Marines and hurled himself on an explosive device, saving the life of one Marine and preventing the enemy from penetrating his sector of the patrol’s perimeter. Johnson died instantly. The Charleston, S.C., native had only been in Vietnam for two months and a few days when he was killed at the age of 20.
On April 20, 1970, President Richard M. Nixon posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest recognition and honor a member of the United States military can receive. On Sept. 5, 1991, 23 years after his heroic act, the Veterans Hospital in Charleston was renamed the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Hospital.
In September 2014, Georgeann McRaven, ship sponsor and wife of retired Adm. William McRaven, former commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, attended the Ralph Johnson keel laying and proclaimed the ship to be “truly and fairly laid.”
The highly capable, multi-mission ship can conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, all in support of the United States’ military strategy. Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are capable of simultaneously fighting air, surface and subsurface battles. The ship contains myriad offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century.