Keel Laid for Future USS Kansas City (LCS 22)

MOBILE, Ala. (Nov. 15, 2017) Scott Beauchemin, left, from General Dynamics Mission Systems; Adm. Phil Davidson, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command; ship’s sponsor Tracy Davidson; Craig Perciavalle, Austal USA president; Adan Silva-Garibay, an Austal USA A-class welder; Tim McCue, Austal USA vice president of the Littoral Combat Ship Program, and Adm. John Neagley, pose for a photograph during a keel laying ceremony for the future Independence-class littoral combat ship USS Kansas City (LCS 22) at the Austal USA shipyard. USS Kansas City is the second ship to be named for Kansas City, Mo., the largest city in the state. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Austal USA/Released)

(Article originally appeared courtesy of

The U.S. Navy held a keel laying and authentication ceremony for the future USS Kansas City (LCS 22) at Austal USA’s shipyard here Nov. 15.

Ship’s sponsor Tracy Davidson, wife of Adm. Philip Davidson, Commander Fleet Forces Command, authenticated the keel for the 11th Independence variant of the littoral combat ship class during the ceremony. While keel laying traditionally represents the formal start of a ship’s construction, advanced modular shipbuilding allows fabrication of the ship to begin months in advance. Today, keel laying continues to symbolically recognize the joining of the ship’s components and the ceremonial beginning of the ship.

“In the coming months, the hardworking men and women of Austal USA will pull one million feet of cable, install 550,000 square feet of insulation, weld 75,000 feet of pipe and shape 850 metric tons of aluminum into an engineering marvel,” said Rear Adm. John Neagley, program executive officer for Littoral Combat Ships.

LCS seaframe program manager’s representative, Navy Cmdr. Chris Addington, commended the Austal USA shipbuilders at the event.

“Through the hard work and dedication of the men and women of Austal, this keel will be built up to a highly-capable Navy ship,” he said. “Thanks to all of you for the effort that will be put into completing this great ship that will exemplify its namesake city.”

Kansas City will be approximately 418 feet in length, with a width of nearly 104 feet.

LCS is a modular, reconfigurable ship designed to host interchangeable mission packages onto the seaframe in support of surface warfare, mine countermeasures and anti-submarine warfare. The Navy’s LCS class consists of the Freedom variant and the Independence variant, designed and built by two industry teams. The Independence variant team is led by Austal USA and the Freedom variant team is led by Lockheed Martin. Both variants are purchased under a block-buy acquisition strategy. There are currently 13 LCSs under construction.

Program Executive Office Littoral Combat Ships is responsible for delivering and sustaining littoral mission capabilities to the fleet.

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Future USS Leah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (DDDG 123) Keel Authenticated

Ship’s Sponsors (left to right) Virginia Munford, Louisa Dixon and Pickett Wilson trace their initials onto a steel plate that will be welded inside the guided missile destroyer Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123). Photo by Michael Duhe/HII

(This article originally appeared courtesy of

The keel of the future USS Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123) was ceremoniously laid Nov. 14, at the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) shipyard.

The ship’s keel was authenticated by the ship’s sponsors, Louisa Dixon, Virginia Munford and Rolanda Pickett Wilson. The authenticators etched their initials into the keel plate to symbolically recognize the joining of modular components and the ceremonial beginning of the ship.

“The keel laying is the first major event in a shipbuilding program and the keel is known as the backbone of the ship,” said Capt. Casey Moton, DDG-51 class program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. “With the keel in place, the ship will begin to take shape and I look forward to seeing that happen over the next several months.”

The ship’s namesake, Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee, served as the second Superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps in 1911 and received the Navy Cross for distinguished service in the line of her profession and devotion to duty. When she entered naval service in 1908, she was one of the first 20 women to join the newly established Navy Nurse Corps and contributed her nursing skills to the Navy during the First World War.

DDG-123 will be configured as a Flight IIA destroyer, which enables 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. The ship will be equipped with the Navy’s Aegis Combat System, the world’s foremost integrated naval weapon. The ship will also incorporate Cooperative Engagement Capability that, when combined with the Aegis Combat System, will permit groups of ships and aircraft to link their radars to provide a composite picture of the battle space, effectively increasing the theater space. The capability is designed to provide the Navy with a 21st century fighting edge.

HII’s Pascagoula shipyard is also currently in production on the future destroyers Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), Paul Ignatius (DDG 117), Delbert D. Black (DDG 119) and Frank E. Petersen, Jr (DDG 121). Additionally, HII is under contract for the future USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125) which will be the first Flight III ship.

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.

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USS Hershel “Woody” Williams (T ESB 4) Christening

Travie Ross, daughter of Hershel “Woody” Williams, christens a ship named after her father. Photo by Chris Stone

(This article originally appeared courtesy General Dynamics NASSCO)

On Saturday, October 21, General Dynamics NASSCO hosted a christening and naming ceremony for the Navy’s newest Expeditionary Sea Base, the USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4).

The ship’s namesake, Hershel Woodrow “Woody” Williams, spoke at the ceremony, and his two daughters, Travie Ross and Tracie Ross, officially named and christened the ship with the traditional break of a champagne bottle alongside the ship. Williams, a retired U. S. Marine, received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. He is the last surviving recipient of the Medal of Honor from that battle.

Several dignitaries provided remarks at the event, including Sen. Joe Manchin; Major General Eric M. Smith, Commanding General, 1st Marine Division, U.S. Marine Corps; Rear Admiral William J. Galinis, Program Executive Officer, Ships, U.S. Navy; and Vice Admiral Dixon R. Smith, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics, U.S. Navy.

NASSCO President Kevin Graney remarked, “Every day we as shipbuilders and repairers come together to be a part of something much larger than ourselves. The ships we design, construct and maintain serve a mission that is vital to our nation and the defense of freedom. Like every Marine, this ship is adaptable. Like its namesake, this ship is a force multiplier. We could not be more honored and more proud to design, build and soon deliver the USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams.”

USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams is the Navy’s second ESB ship. The 784-foot-long ship will serve as a flexible platform to support a variety of missions, including air mine countermeasures, counter-piracy operations, maritime security and humanitarian missions. The ship will provide for accommodations for up to 250 personnel, a 52,000-square-foot flight deck, fuel and equipment storage, and will also support MH-53 and MH-60 helicopters with an option to support MV-22 tilt-rotor aircraft. Currently nearing the end of construction, the ship will be delivered to the U.S. Navy in February 2018.

General Dynamics NASSCO has delivered three ships in the class to the Navy: USNS Montford Point (ESD 1), USNS John Glenn (ESD 2) and USS Lewis B. Puller (ESB 3). USNS Hershel “Woody” Williams (ESB 4) is the fourth ship to be constructed by NASSCO shipbuilders under the program. A fifth ship is currently under construction, with a planned delivery of March 2019, and funding for a sixth ship has passed several Congressional committees.

View the Christening Ceremony:

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Future USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28) Keel Authenticated

(Photo Courtesy SeaWaves)

(This article originally appeared courtesy

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (NNS) — The keel for the future USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28) was authenticated during a ceremony at Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), Oct. 13.

Keel laying is the traditional start of ship construction. In the age of wooden ships, ‘keel laying’ referred to the laying down of the piece of timber serving as the backbone of the ship or keel. Although modern manufacturing techniques allow fabrication of portions of a ship to begin many months earlier, the joining together of modules is considered the formal beginning of a ship.

The keel was authenticated to be “truly and fairly laid” by the ship’s sponsor, Meredith Berger, former Deputy Chief of Staff to the Secretary of the Navy who previously served as a senior policy advisor within the Department of Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Florida.

“I’m very honored to have Ms. Berger here today to take part in this event,” said Capt. Brian Metcalf, LPD 17 class program manager for Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. “Authentication of the ship’s keel is a major ship event and we’re looking forward to leveraging the experience and expertise of the Ingalls Shipbuilding team to achieve future production milestones.”

San Antonio-class ships are designed to support embarking, transporting, and landing elements of over 800 Marines by landing craft, air cushion vehicles, helicopters, or MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. These ships support a variety of amphibious assault, special operations or expeditionary warfare missions, operating independently or as part of amphibious readiness groups, expeditionary strike groups, or joint task forces. The versatility of these ships also allow support of humanitarian efforts; USS New York (LPD 21), a sister ship, is currently underway from Mayport, Florida, offering support in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

LPD-28 is named in honor of the Florida city and will be the first Navy vessel to bear the name and will be the Navy’s 12th San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship. The future USS Fort Lauderdale is planned for delivery in 2021. Eleven LPD-17 ships have been delivered, the most recent being USS Portland (LPD 27), which was delivered Sept. 18, 2017. HII is also procuring long lead time material and advance procurement in support of LPD-29.

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 boats and craft.

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USS Washington (SSN 787) Commissioned

NORFOLK (Oct. 7, 2017) Sailors render a salute during the commissioning ceremony for the Virginia Class Submarine USS Washington (SSN 787) at Naval Station Norfolk. Washington is the U.S. Navy’s 14th Virginia-class attack submarine and the fourth U.S. Navy ship named for the State of Washington. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joshua M. Tolbert/Released)

(Article appears courtesy of

NORFOLK, Virginia (NNS) — The Navy with assistance from the submarine’s sponsor Elisabeth Mabus, daughter of the 75th Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, commissioned and brought to life the newest Virginia class submarine, USS Washington (SSN 787), during a ceremony on board Naval Station Norfolk, Oct. 7.

Washington, named in honor of the 42nd state, is the 14th Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine to join the Navy’s operational fleet. Elisabeth Mabus expressed how proud she was of the crew and their families.

“I know, though you are all eager to set out on the Washington, this like all naval service will requires you to be away from your families for long stretches, so thank you to the families” said Mabus. “In a very real sense you are plank owners of this ship as well.”

Mabus gave the order to “man our ship and bring her to life” before the crew of about 130 men ran across the brow, onto the vessel.

Washington is the fourth of eight Block III Virginia-class submarines to be built. The Block III submarines are built with new Virginia Payload Tubes designed to lower costs and increase missile-firing payload possibilities. The first 10 Block I and Block II Virginia class submarines have 12 individual 21-inch diameter vertical launch tubes able to fire Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMS). The Block III submarines are built with two-larger 87-inch diameter tubes able to house six TLAMS each.

“We won’t know what challenges we will face as a nation in 10, 15 or 20 years, but we know because of the work being done now at Newport News and Electric Boat and by the Sailors who call this ship home, USS Washington will be prepared for whatever is to come,” said Mabus.

USS Washington commanding officer, Cmdr. Gabriel Cavazos, highlighted the Washington’s capability to dominate the undersea domain and enable military success in any engagement.

“As I have told the crew on many occasions, they are the most important component of the ship. They give the ship its personality and warfighting spirit. Without the crew, Washington would not be the warfighting platform she was built to be; however, combine the two, and, together, we are the Blackfish,” said Cavazos.

Today USS Washington is alive and stands ready for mission.

“Thank you for being here to celebrate this momentous occasion with us,” said Cavazos.

Washington is the fourth U.S. Navy ship, and first submarine, to be named honoring the State of Washington. The previous three ships were an armored cruiser, (ACR 11), which served from 1905 to 1916, the battleship (BB 47) a Colorado-class battleship launched in 1921 and sunk as a gunnery target in 1924 after her construction was halted, and the battleship (BB 56) credited with sinking more enemy tonnage than any other U.S. Navy battleship during World War II, serving from 1941 to 1947.

Washington is a flexible, multi-mission platform designed to carry out the seven core competencies of the submarine force: anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; delivery of special operations forces; strike warfare; irregular warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; and mine warfare. Their inherent stealth, endurance, mobility, and firepower directly enable them to support five of the six maritime strategy core capabilities: sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence.

The submarine is 377 feet long, has a 34-foot beam, and will be able to dive to depths greater than 800 feet and operate at speeds in excess of 25 knots submerged. It will operate for over 30 years without ever refueling.

Construction on Washington began September 2011; the submarine’s keel was authenticated during a ceremony on Nov. 22, 2014; and the submarine was christened during a ceremony March 5, 2016.


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USS Tripoli (LHA 7) Christening

Ship’s sponsor Lynne Mabus (right) smashes a bottle of sparkling wine against the bow of the Ingalls-built amphibious assault ship Tripoli (LHA 7). Also pictured (left to right) are Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss.; Capt. Kevin Meyers, Tripoli’s prospective commanding officer; acting Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas Dee; Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias; and Lynne Mabus’ husband, former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. (Photo by Lance Davis/HII)

(This article originally appeared courtesy of GlobeNewswire)

PASCAGOULA, Miss., Sept. 16, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding division christened the amphibious assault ship Tripoli (LHA 7) today with approximately 2,000 guests in attendance.

Lynne Mabus, wife of former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, is the ship’s sponsor and officially christened Tripoli after successfully breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across its bow.

“I’d like to thank the shipbuilders, who, through what must be supernatural abilities, have built something that goes beyond anything nature could create,” Mabus said. “This ship was built by the hands of the women and men of Huntington Ingalls, but it looks as if it was built by the hands of the gods. She is made of 45,000 tons of steel and sweat, and she will carry on her back and in her belly aircraft such as the Harrier, Osprey, Lightning, King Stallion, Viper, Night Hawk. She will also be a place our sailors and Marines will call home.”

Thomas Dee, who is currently serving as Under Secretary of the Navy, gave the ceremony’s keynote address. “When USS Tripoli, the newest America-class amphibious assault ship, joins the fleet, we’ll be a stronger, more flexible and better Navy and Marine Corps team,” he said. “The ship will be a force-multiplier, and her crew will proudly serve our country for decades to come. I am grateful to the men and women of Ingalls Shipbuilding for their dedication and to the citizens of Pascagoula for their unwavering support as we continue to make our Navy stronger.”

Tripoli will be the third ship to bear the name that commemorates the capture of Derna in 1805 by a small force of U.S. Marines and approximately 370 soldiers from 11 other nations. The battle, memorialized in the Marines’ Hymn with the line “to the shores of Tripoli,” brought about a successful conclusion to the combined operations of the First Barbary War.

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USS Charleston Christening

MOBILE, Ala. (Aug. 26, 2017) Ship’s sponsor Charlotte Riley breaks a bottle of champagne across the bow during the christening ceremony for the littoral combat ship USS Charleston (LCS 18). At the ceremony, Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Richard V. Spencer gave the principal address. Spencer is in the area to view the ongoing shipyard work at Austal USA and meet Sailors and civilian employees who support the Navy. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Armando Gonzales/Released)

(This article originally appeared on

By Ashley Remkus

The U.S. Navy’s 18th Littoral Combat Ship, the USS Charleston, was christened today at Austal USA’s Mobile shipyard.

Among those in attendance at the christening ceremony were Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer and Charlotte Riley, sponsor of the future USS Charleston (LCS 18).

The ship, which is part of Austal’s $3.5 billion contract with the U.S. Navy, is named for Charleston, the oldest city in South Carolina.

“Today marks another major milestone with the christening of this remarkable warship,” said Austal USA President Craig Perciavalle in a news release. “Our talented shipbuilding team is honored to provide our Navy with an extraordinarily capable vessel that will honor the great city of Charleston as she operates around the world.”

Austal said the LCS program is at full-rate production, delivering two ships a year and is continuing its momentum at Austal USA with seven ships currently under construction:

  • Omaha (LCS 12) will be delivered in the coming weeks
  • Manchester (LCS 14) is preparing for trials
  • Tulsa (LCS 16) will begin trials at the end of the year
  • Final assembly is well underway on Cincinnati (LCS 20)
  • Modules for Kansas City (LCS 22) and Oakland (LCS 24) are under construction

At today’s ceremony, Riley headlined the group of officials, naval guests, civic leaders, community members and Austal employees in Austal’s final assembly bay. Riley moved to Charleston in 1965 where she met her husband, Joseph P. Riley, Jr., who led the city of Charleston for 40 years beginning in 1975 when he was first elected Mayor, according to Austal.

Riley, an active community volunteer, began in the Junior League of Charleston and served as a tutor in remedial reading for a school for troubled boys, serving on their board for a number of years. She also served on the Big Brothers Big Sisters board, as well as the board for Charleston’s homeless shelter. As a volunteer for her church, Mrs. Riley supported Meals on Wheels and presently serves on their altar guild.

Christening video courtesy of Austal: 

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USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115) Commissioned in San Diego

SAN DIEGO (July 29, 2017) The crew of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115) mans the ship during its commissioning ceremony at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, Calif. Rafael Peralta honors Marine Corps Sgt. Rafael Peralta, who was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for actions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Zackary Alan Landers/Released)

(This article originally appeared courtesy of U.S. Navy/Phil Ladoucuer, Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class)

The Navy’s newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115) was commissioned in a ceremony at Naval Air Station North Island, July 29.

The ship is named in honor of Navy Cross recipient Marine Corp Sgt. Rafael Peralta. During the second battle of Fallujah, he smothered a grenade with his body, absorbing the majority of the blast. He was killed instantly, but saved the lives of his fellow Marines.

The Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert B. Neller, gave the principal address. In his remarks, he thanked the family of Rafael Peralta, in particular his mother, Rosa Maria Peralta.

“Thank you for raising a man of character and virtue,” he said. “We need more people like him in our world.”

Neller said that a ship required three things: A hull, a name, and a crew.

“And when you put those three things together, you create more than just a ship; it’s a lifeform,” he said. “This is more than just another commissioning. It marks the commemoration of a life and the immortality of a hero. Sergeant Peralta’s legacy will forever be part of this ship. All he ever wanted to be was an American, to serve his country.”

Vice Adm. Nora Tyson, commander, Third Fleet, stepped up to the podium with the ship’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Brian Ribota and placed the ship in commission.

“On behalf of the Secretary of the Navy and for the President of the United States, I hereby place United States Ship Rafael Peralta in commission,” she said. “May God bless and guide this warship and all who shall sail in her.”

Rosa Maria Peralta, mother of Sgt. Peralta, is the ship’s sponsor. Her sponsorship duties saw her christen the ship in Bath, Maine and during the commissioning ceremony, she gave the order to the ship’s crew to bring the ship to life, first in Spanish and then in English:

“Officers and crew of USS Rafael Peralta, man our ship and bring her to life!”

The crew enthusiastically replied from its formation on the pier.

“Aye, aye ma’am!” they yelled, and sprinted aboard the ship as the Navy Band Southwest played Anchors Aweigh, followed by a flyover by two U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Ospreys.

Commander Ribota thanked the guests for attending the ceremony. He then reminded everyone of another constant presence.

“One last person who is here for us today, just three miles away, on Fort Rosencrantz, where he is buried,” he said. “Sgt. Rafael Peralta has the over watch and always will. We will always render honors as we come in and out of port here in San Diego.”

Ribota also recognized the hard work and determination displayed by his crew – the men and women who made this special day possible.

“In less than three months after moving aboard, they flawlessly sailed this 9,200-ton greyhound over 6,000 miles to get here to San Diego,” he said. “We have all come a long way in a very short time.”

Peralta was born on April 7, 1979 in Mexico City, Mexico. The son of Rafael and Rosa Peralta, he was the oldest of four children. Immigrating to the United States with his family as a teenager, he graduated from Morse High School in San Diego, California in1997. He joined the United States Marine Corps in 2000, immediately after qualifying for a green card. He became an American citizen while serving in the Corps.

Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Rafael Peralta is a multi-mission surface combatant capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and anti-surface warfare. As a multi-mission platform, it is capable of sustained combat operations supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control and deterrence.

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USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) Commissioned

NORFOLK (July 22, 2017) Sailors man the rails of the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) during its commissioning ceremony at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. Ford is the lead ship of the Ford-class aircraft carriers, and the first new U.S. aircraft carrier designed in 40 years. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Andrew J. Sneeringer/Released)

(This article originally appeared on

By Ens. Corey Todd Jones

NORFOLK (NNS) — President Donald J. Trump commissioned the aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) at a commissioning ceremony July 22.

A commissioning is a day of celebration, and honors the dedication, team work, and collaboration of Sailors, legislators, shipbuilders, program managers, and the ship’s sponsor in delivering the ship to the fleet.

Trump landed on the flight deck in Marine One and was greeted by Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Acting Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, and USS Gerald R. Ford Commanding Officer Capt. Rick McCormack.
Over 10,000 friends and family members attended the event, watching the festivities from the hangar bay, the pier and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69).

Distinguished members of the party offered remarks to honor the occasion.

“Wherever this vessel cuts through the horizon, our allies will rest easy and our enemies will shake with fear because everyone will know that America is coming and America is coming strong,” said Trump. “Our true strength is our people. Our greatest weapon is all of you. Our nation endures because we have citizens who love America and who are willing to fight for America.”

He continued, “We are so very blessed with warriors who are willing to serve America in the greatest fighting force in history, the United States military. Today this ship officially begins its role in the noble military history of our great nation.”

Stackley also addressed the crowd.

“So skipper, as we marvel at the technology and the daunting numbers that measure this ship, never lose sight that in times of crisis, you will be the first to respond, and when called upon, you will deliver the final word in the bidding of our nation,” said Stackley. “Whenever you sail, wherever you sail, you will be a symbol of Unites States resolve and you will be a symbol of the man whose name you bear.”

After the ship’s sponsor and President Ford’s daughter Susan Ford Bales gave the traditional command to “Man our ship and bring her to life,” Ford Sailors ran up the brows and manned the rails as the band played “Anchor’s Aweigh.”

McCormack expressed his pride in the work his crew has done to get the ship ready to serve in the fleet.

“The Sailors aboard today are among our nation’s finest,” said McCormack. “They are talented, driven, innovative, dedicated, and passionate about what they do and I am very proud to be their commanding officer. Team Wolverine, I have the utmost faith and confidence in your abilities to handle any challenge ahead, and I can think of no better team to take this ship to sea.”

After the ceremony, the ship was opened to the general public for tours, which included the flight deck, the commanding officer’s in-port cabin, pilot house, mess decks, fo’c’sle, and the newly opened tribute room.

USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78) is the lead ship in the Ford-class of aircraft carrier, the first new class in more than 40 years, and will begin the phased replacement of Nimitz-class carriers.

CVN-78 honors the 38th president of the United States and pays tribute to his lifetime of service in the Navy, in the U.S. government and to the nation. During World War II Ford attained the rank of lieutenant commander in the Navy, serving on the light carrier USS Monterey (CVL 26). Ford became president in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal and served in the country’s highest office from 1974-1977.

View the Commissioning Ceremony:

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USS John Finn (DDG 113) Commissioning

PEARL HARBOR (July 15, 2017) The crew of the Navy’s newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS John Finn (DDG 113) brings the ship to life during its commissioning ceremony. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Aiyana Paschal)

(This article originally appeared courtesy of U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeff Troutman, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West Det. Hawaii)

One of the Navy’s newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS John Finn (DDG 113), was brought to life and into the fleet July 15 at Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor – a fitting commissioning venue, as the namesake’s Dec. 7, 1941, heroic actions 30 miles away at Kaneohe Bay are the stuff of Navy legend.

Chief Aviation Ordnanceman John Finn, was World War II’s first Medal of Honor recipient whom Adm. Chester Nimitz said displayed, “magnificent courage in the face of certain death” during the attack on Pearl Harbor and other Oahu military targets in 1941. Finn manned a .50-caliber machine gun while under heavy enemy machine gun fire. Although wounded, he continued to fight until ordered to vacate his post to seek medical attention. Following first aid treatment, he returned to action and led the charge to rearm aircraft returning from missions.

John Finn is the 63rd Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and was delivered to the Navy from shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries on the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 2016.

“I can’t think of a more fitting place to commission this ship than right here at Pearl Harbor, where we can honor the legacy of John Finn and all Americans from the ‘Greatest Generation’ and reflect on the blessings and costs of liberty,” remarked Adm. Harry Harris, Jr., commander, U.S. Pacific Command. “Thankfully, America has always been blessed to have strong women and men who find the will and summon the courage to endure against overwhelming odds; patriots like John Finn, who answered the call to defend our nation in her darkest hour.”

Recognizing the ship’s motto to “stand fast and fight,” Harris praised the ship’s firepower and capabilities as a testament to its namesake’s readiness in battle and determination in the face of danger. The Navy’s newest ship and her crew is ready to deliver – just like Chief Finn did as he manned a machine gun while wounded and under intense enemy fire.

“John Finn brings both the saber and the shield into the fight,” said Harris. “Truly, the advanced combat systems, coupled with the innovative spirit and the killer instinct of her amazing crew, are powerful reminders of our readiness to fight tonight. This warship is the embodiment of America’s resolve to protect our homeland and defend our allies.”

Harris pointed out that the Aegis-capable destroyers like John Finn expand America’s projection of power and leadership in the Pacific.

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“We believe in peace through strength – smart power backed by hard power,” Harris said. “And this ship, hard power personified, sends a clear signal to our allies, to our friends and to our adversaries – we will remain laser focused on the Indo-Asia-Pacific because what happens here matters to the United States.”

Approximately 2,000 guests, including more than 50 friends and relatives of John Finn’s family, attended the commissioning ceremony.

The ship was officially placed in commission by Harris. Its Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Micheal Wagner, a native of Minnesota, leads the crew of 300 officers and enlisted personnel and praised his crew as worthy of the standard set forth by the ship’s namesake.

“I’m truly honored and humbled to be standing here today, not only because I’m in command of the Navy’s newest destroyer, but because I’ve been given the opportunity to lead some of the finest Sailors I’ve ever met,” said Wagner. “The men and women manning this ship today are some of the finest service members society has to offer today. They come from all over the United States. Some even come from different countries. But make no mistake, they are all willing and enthusiastic about completing the mission. These are men and women of action, ready to go into action if required, just like John Finn exhibited.”

The ship’s sponsor, Laura Stavridis, the wife of retired Adm. James Stavridis, gave the order to, “man our ship and bring her to life!”

The crowd then witnessed this time-honored tradition, as members of the crew ran aboard the ship and manned the rails, as the ship’s systems came online – radars and weapon systems began to spin, the chaff launcher popped, and alarms sounded – all symbolizing the ship “coming to life.”

John Finn is a multi-mission surface combatant capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare. As a multi-mission platform, it is capable of sustained combat operations supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control and deterrence.

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