Navy Commissions USS Vermont (SSN 792)

210828-N-GR655-018 GROTON, Conn. (August 28, 2021) – The crew of the USS Vermont (SSN 792) stand at attention during a commissioning commemoration onboard Naval Submarine Base New London in Groton, Conn., Aug. 28. Vermont and crew operate under Submarine Squadron (SUBRON) FOUR, whose primary mission is to provide fast-attack submarines that are ready, willing, and able to meet the unique challenges of undersea combat and deployed operations in unforgiving environments across the globe. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Joshua Karsten/RELEASED)

(Original article appears courtesy of Navy.mil)

The Navy celebrated the commissioning of USS Vermont (SSN 792), the first Block IV Virginia-class submarine to enter service, Saturday, Aug. 28, at Naval Submarine Base New London

“Vermonters have served with valor from the highest mountains to the depths of the ocean,” said Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, who served as the event’s keynote speaker and was attending his first ship ceremony as secretary.

“This vessel has already proven itself in service, not only because it was designed the right way, but because of the exemplary work of the men aboard,” he continued.

Vermont was administratively commissioned on April 18, 2020, but due to restrictions on large gatherings because of the COVID-19 pandemic at the time, no traditional commissioning ceremony was held. To ensure the health and safety of the crew and all those in attendance during the ceremony Saturday, attendance was limited and no public or media tours were held. Masks were required in all indoor spaces and encouraged in outdoor spaces.

Since its administrative commissioning, USS Vermont has been an active submarine in the U.S. Navy, including participation in anti-submarine warfare exercises alongside the Brazilian navy in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of operations in December of 2020.

In addition to Del Toro, Rear Adm. Douglas Perry, director of undersea warfare on the chief of naval operations’ staff and a Vermont native, was among those who spoke at the Saturday ceremony.

Perry spoke of the legacies of previous Navy ships with Vermont ties and military heroes from the state’s past, like Ethan Allen during the Revolutionary War and 19th Century Admiral of the Navy George Dewey.

“The Green Mountain State’s legacy of naval service runs deep,” Perry said. “You join a rich history of honorable service.”

This is the third U.S. Navy ship to bear the name Vermont, but first in a century. The first was one of nine 74-gun warships authorized by Congress in 1816. The second, Battleship No. 20, was commissioned in 1907 and first deployed in December of that year as part of the “Great White Fleet.” The battleship Vermont was decommissioned June 30, 1920.

The submarine Vermont was christened in a traditional ceremony at General Dynamics’ Electric Boat shipyard in Groton, Connecticut, on Oct. 20, 2018.

“She was built by the best, for the best, and is the best of the best,” said Gloria Valdez, the ship sponsor and a former deputy assistant secretary of the Navy overseeing shipbuilding and modernization. “She is the most technologically advanced submarine in the world.”

USS Vermont 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. She has a crew of more than 130 Navy personnel.

“We get to finally say, ‘The ship’s in commission, thank you so much to everyone who supported us,’” said Cmdr. Charles Phillips, the commanding officer of USS Vermont. “This represents the people of Vermont. We want to make them proud and let them justify their confidence in us as we defend our country.”

Fast-attack submarines are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security and deterrence. They are designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare, anti-ship warfare, strike warfare, special operations, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, irregular warfare and mine warfare. Fast-attack submarines project power ashore with special operations forces and Tomahawk cruise missiles in the prevention or preparation of regional crises.

Block IV Virginia-class submarines incorporate design changes focused on reduced total ownership cost. By making these smaller-scale design changes to increase the component-level lifecycle of the submarine, the Navy will increase the periodicity between depot maintenance availabilities and increase the number of deployments.

Blocks I-III Virginia-class submarines are planned to undergo four depot maintenance availabilities and conduct 14 deployments. Block IV design changes are intended to reduce planned availabilities by one to three, and increase deployments to 15.

Also speaking at the ceremony Saturday were members of the Vermont and Connecticut congressional delegations: U.S. Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont, U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney of Connecticut and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.

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Navy Christens LPD USS Fort Lauderdale

Official christening of amphibious transport dock Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28). (Credit: Derek Fountain/HII)

(Original appears courtesy of Naval Technology)

Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding division has held the naming ceremony of the US Navy’s newest landing platform/dock (LPD) 28 at its shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

The 12th San Antonio-class amphibious transport ship was christened as Fort Lauderdale by its sponsor Meredith Berger. It is the first navy vessel to bear the name of the Florida city.

The division supplied 12 San Antonio-class ships to the US Navy, with two additional ships currently under construction. They include Richard M McCool Jr (LPD 29) and Harrisburg (LPD 30).

Berger said: “We are finally here together to celebrate the christening of the USS Fort Lauderdale. In these times, together doesn’t quite look like what it used to.

“Some of us are here at Ingalls, some are watching remotely from home, but we are all together in spirit. Through our ties to this ship, we strengthen the relationship between the military and the nation.”

Due to the ongoing pandemic situation, the christening ceremony was livestreamed and conducted with very limited attendance.

The 684ft-long San Antonio-class ships are designed to support a variety of amphibious assault, special operations, or expeditionary warfare missions.

They are capable of operating independently or as part of amphibious readiness groups, expeditionary strike groups, or joint task forces.

In March last year, the US Navy announced the launch of USS Fort Lauderdale (LPD 28).

In October 2017, LPD 28 underwent a keel laying ceremony at Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) yard.

Fort Lauderdale mayor Dean Trantalis said: “Fort Lauderdale has had a close, long connection to the armed services.

“The people of today who serve in our military, especially in the navy, have come to understand and appreciate the city of Fort Lauderdale.”

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Navy Christens USS Nantucket (LCS 27)

Ship sponsor Polly Spencer breaks a bottle during the christening ceremony (Lockheed Martin)

(Original article appears courtesy of the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror)

The USS Nantucket, the  first  U.S. Navy ship to be named after the island in more than 100 years, was christened Saturday in  Marinette, Wis.

The christening ceremony marked the transition of the ship from new construction to its tests and trials phase and was celebrated with the traditional breaking of a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.

Town manager Libby Gibson and harbormaster Sheila Lucey were among the guests at the christening. Summer resident Polly Spencer, ship sponsor and wife of Richard V. Spencer, the 76th Secretary of the U.S. Navy from 2017 to 2019, christened the ship.

The last USS Nantucket was commissioned in 1862 to serve during the American Civil War.

The ship is a 388-foot Freedom-class littoral combat ship, a relatively small vessel intended for operations close to shore. According to the Navy, it is designed to “defeat threats such as mines, quiet diesel submarines and fast surface craft.”

The USS Nantucket, the third commissioned U.S. Navy ship to bear the island’s name, was built by Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Marinette.

It will be homeported in Florida.

The name was chosen to “honor the maritime history and heritage of the people of Nantucket,” Navy spokesman Lt. Joshua Kelsey said. The last Nantucket was commissioned in 1862 by the Union Navy during the Civil War.

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Navy Christens Future USS Hyman G. Rickover

210731-N-GR655-298 GROTON, Conn. (July 31, 2021) – Sarah Greenert McNichol, Matron of Honor for the future USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN 795), christens the ship during a ceremony at General Dynamics Electric Boat shipyard facility in Groton, Conn., July 31, 2021. Rickover and crew will operate under Submarine Squadron (SUBRON) FOUR whose primary mission is to provide attack submarines that are ready, willing, and able to meet the unique challenges of undersea combat and deployed operations in unforgiving environments across the globe. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Petty Officer Joshua Karsten/RELEASED)

(Original article appears courtesy of Navy.mil)

The Navy’s newest Virginia-class attack submarine, future USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN 795), was christened during a ceremony at General Dynamics’ Electric Boat shipyard facility in Groton, Connecticut, July 31.

“This submarine is a fitting tribute to Admiral Rickover, who truly transformed our Navy,” said Adm. James Caldwell, director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, during his remarks at the celebration.

Caldwell credited Rickover – who served for 63 years in the Navy and is credited with spurring the service to adopt nuclear propulsion after World War II – with not only technological advances but cultural ones. He lauded Rickover’s legendary work ethic, frankness, attention to detail and commitment to excellence, which he said has since permeated throughout the Navy.

“It’s really great to see this ship come together, and to see so many people here to celebrate the christening of the Hyman G. Rickover and honor the Hyman G. Rickover legacy,” said Cmdr. Thomas Niebel, commanding officer of the newly christened submarine.

The Honorable James F. Geurts, performing the duties of Under Secretary of the Navy, told those in attendance that the construction of the future USS Hyman G. Rickover is a testament to the dedication of America’s shipbuilders and sailors.

“We did not close a shipyard, public or private, for one day during the pandemic,” Geurts said. “The sustained commitment to excellence displayed by this workforce shows in the construction of this boat and adheres to the culture of excellence promoted by Hyman G. Rickover.

“It’s not just a matter of having the world’s best ships,” he continued, “you have to have the world’s best sailors to maintain the world’s best Navy, and we have both.”

Darleen Greenert, the submarine’s sponsor, a Navy veteran, and wife of former Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan Greenert, highlighted the sacrifice of military families during her remarks, and remembered the late Eleonore Rickover, the namesake admiral’s wife.

“She set the bar [for ship sponsors],” Darleen Greenert said of Eleonore Rickover, who was the sponsor for a previous Los Angeles-class submarine to bear the Hyman G. Rickover name, SSN 709. “She loved her crew.”

The first Hyman G. Rickover was commissioned at Submarine Base, New London, in Groton, on July 21, 1984. SSN 709 and its crew deployed 12 times until its decommissioning in December 2007. Over the years, its decorations included the Atlantic Fleet Golden Anchor Award, Submarine Squadron Eight’s anti-submarine warfare white “A” and engineering red “E” awards and the prestigious Sixth Fleet “Hook ‘Em” award for anti-submarine warfare excellence.

Greenert asked family members of the crew of the future USS Hyman G. Rickover to stand together when her daughter, Matron of Honor Sarah Greenert McNichol, broke the ceremonial bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.

Other speakers at the ceremony included Electric Boat President Kevin Graney, Newport News Shipbuilding President Jennifer Boykin, U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-CT and U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin, D-RI.

Rickover will eventually joint the fleet with a displacement of 7,835 tons, crew of 132, and a weapons payload of 12 vertical launch systems and four torpedo tubes.

Fast-attack submarines like Rickover are multi-mission platforms enabling five of the six Navy maritime strategy core capabilities – sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime security, and deterrence. The submarine is designed to excel in anti-submarine warfare; anti-ship warfare; strike warfare; special operations; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare – from open ocean anti-submarine warfare to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, to projecting power ashore with Special Operation Forces and Tomahawk cruise missiles in the prevention or preparation of regional crises.

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Navy Christens USNS John Lewis (TAO 25)

Ship Sponsor Alfie Wooderd Chris (USNI News)

(Originally article appears courtesy of USNI News)

The first of the Navy’s new replenishment oilers was christened on Saturday.

In a ceremony in San Diego, Calif., the Navy christened the future USNS John Lewis (T-AO-205), the first ship in the service’s new class of oilers.

“Leaders like Representative Lewis taught us that diversity of backgrounds and experiences help contribute to the strength of our nation. There is no doubt that the future Sailors aboard this ship will be galvanized by Lewis’ legacy,” Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Harker said in a Pentagon news release.

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) died last July after serving in Congress for more than 30 years. Today’s christening ceremony took place on the anniversary of his passing, the Pentagon noted.

General Dynamics-National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) builds the oilers in its San Diego yard. The ships will fall under Military Sealift Command.

“The John Lewis-class ships are based on commercial design standards and will recapitalize the current T-AO 187-class fleet replenishment oilers to provide underway replenishment of fuel to U.S. Navy ships at sea. These ships are part of the Navy’s Combat Logistics Force,” the Pentagon news release reads.

House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was the ceremony’s main speaker, while several Navy officials – including U.S. 10th Fleet commander Vice Adm. Ross Myers, Military Sealift Command chief Rear Adm. Michael Wettlaufer, and James Geurts, who is currently performing the duties of the undersecretary of the Navy and previously was the service’s acquisition chief – also spoke at the event, according to the Defense Department release.

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Keel Laid for Future USS Cleveland

A welder authenticates the keel of Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 31, the future USS Cleveland, by welding the initials of the ship’s sponsor, Robyn Modly, wife of a Clevelander and former U.S. Navy secretary, who has embraced the city as her own. (LOCKHEED MARTIN)

(Original article appears courtesy of Seapower Magazine)

Lockheed Martin celebrated the keel-laying of the future littoral combat ship (LCS) USS Cleveland in June 17 ceremonies at the Fincantieri Marinete Marine shipyard in Wisconsin. 

A welder authenticated the keel of LCS 31, the future USS Cleveland, by welding the initials of the ship’s sponsor, Robyn Modly, wife of Thomas B. Modly, a Clevelander and former U.S. Navy secretary. 

“I am humbled and honored to be the sponsor of a ship that bears the name of the great city of Cleveland, with its rich and storied history of support to our armed services,” Modly said. “I look forward to a lifelong relationship with the ship and her crew as they proudly serve the Navy and our nation.” 

The laying of the keel celebrates an important milestone in the life of the future USS Cleveland (LCS 31) and marks a significant event for the construction of the nation’s 31st LCS. The USS Cleveland will be the fourth commissioned ship in naval service, since World War I, named after Cleveland, the second-largest city in Ohio and home to countless Navy and Marine Corps veterans. With the city’s deep ties to maritime service since the turn of the 20th century, LCS 31 will honor Cleveland’s longstanding naval history. 

“We are proud to build another proven warship that allows our Navy to carry out missions around the world,” said Steve AllenLockheed Martin Vice President of Small Combatants and Ship Systems. “All of us at Lockheed Martin, including our hardworking team in Marinette, Wisconsin, look forward to working with the U.S. Navy to continue delivering highly capable and adaptable Freedom-variant littoral combat ships to the fleet.”  

“Our team at Fincantieri Marinette Marine is proud to celebrate the keel laying of the LCS 31 with the gracious citizens of Cleveland,” said Jan Allman, CEO of Fincantieri Marinette Marine. “This milestone is a testament to the power of cooperation and forward thinking by the entire Freedom team and our customer, the United States Navy. It also bears witness to all the dedicated craftsmen and women working in our FMG system of shipyards.” 

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Navy Christens USS Canberra (LCS 30)

The christening of the USS Canberra, LCS 30, at Austal USA in Mobile, Alabama, Saturday, June 5. (AUSTAL USA)

(Original article appears courtesy of Seapower Magazine)

Austal USA hosted the christening ceremony for the future USS Canberra (LCS 30) Independence-variant littoral combat ship on June 5, the company said in a release. Canberra is the 15th LCS designed and constructed by Austal USA and the second U.S. Navy ship to be named after the Australian capital. 

“Today, just 16 years after Austal USA joined the U.S. defense industrial base, the company is hosting its 15th littoral combat ship christening – LCS 30, a ship proudly named after the capital of Australia and yet another symbol of the great ties between our two countries,” stated Austal USA Interim President Rusty Murdaugh in his address to the audience at the ceremony. 

The ship’s sponsor, Australian Senator and Foreign Minister Marise Payne, attended the ship’s keel laying ceremony in Mobile early last year, but was unable to attend today’s christening ceremony. 

Alison Petchell, the Australian Government’s Minister Counsellor Defense Materiel, christened the future USS Canberra (LCS 30). 

Canberra (LCS 30) is the 15th of 19 small surface combatants Austal USA is building for the U.S. Navy. Five are under various stages of construction and a sixth is on contract waiting to start construction. Austal USA is also constructing two Expeditionary Fast Transport ships (EPF) for the U.S. Navy with one more on contract awaiting start of construction. 

The company recently broke ground on its new steel manufacturing line to expand its shipbuilding capability to service the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard’s rising demand for steel ships. 

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Navy Commissions Littoral Combat Ship USS Mobile

MOBILE, Ala. (May 22, 2021) – The crew of USS Mobile (LCS 26), man the ship during the commissioning ceremony of Mobile. Mobile is the Navy’s 13th Independence-variant littoral combat ship. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alex Millar/Released)

(Original article appears courtesy of Navy.mil)

The Navy commissioned its newest Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Mobile (LCS 26) during a ceremony in Mobile, Alabama, May 22.

Due to COVID-19 limitations, 400 guests attended the socially distanced ceremony for the littoral combat ship named in honor of the city in which it was built.

The Honorable Tommy Tuberville, U.S. Senator of Alabama, delivered the ceremony’s principal address.

“The United States has been the greatest source of good in the history of the world and we will continue to be a force for good because of the brave men and women that we have here today,” said Tuberville.

Guest speakers for the event also included the Honorable Kay Ivey, Governor of Alabama, the Honorable Sandy Stimpson, Mayor of Mobile and the Honorable James Geurts performing the duties of the Undersecretary of the Navy.

“The ships that this city has built are literally sailing on every ocean right now,” said Geurts, referencing ship manufacturer Austal USA, based in Mobile, Alabama.

Mrs. Rebecca Byrne, president and chief executive officer of The Community Foundation of South Alabama and wife of former U.S. Representative of Alabama Bradley Byrne, provided remarks as the ship’s sponsor.

“We have the distinction of the USS Mobile being built and commissioned in its namesake city here in the historic port of Mobile,” said Byrne. “We welcome the ship to the United States fleet that bears our great name and comes on great Navy tradition.”

During the ceremony, Mobile’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Christopher W. Wolff, reported the ship ready and Byrne gave the traditional order to “Man our ship and bring her to life!”

“The commissioning of the fleet’s newest warship is an awesome occasion and with it comes the equally awesome responsibility to prepare ourselves to go forward and conduct our nation’s business,” said Wolff.

The ceremony completed a weeklong series of events celebrating the ship and its namesake city. USS Mobile is the fifth ship named in honor of the port city on Alabama’s Gulf Coast.

Mobile will homeport in San Diego with sister ships USS Independence (LCS 2), USS Coronado (LCS 4), USS Jackson (LCS 6), USS Montgomery (LCS 8), USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), USS Omaha (LCS 12), USS Manchester (LCS 14), USS Tulsa (LCS 16), USS Charleston (LCS 18), USS Cincinnati (LCS 20), USS Kansas City (LCS 22), and USS Oakland (LCS 24).

The LCS is a fast, agile, mission-focused platform designed to operate in near-shore environments while capable of open-ocean tasking. The LCS can support forward presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence.

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Navy Commissions USS Miguel Keith (ESB 5)

SAN DIEGO (May 8, 2021) The crew of the Lewis B. Puller-class expeditionary mobile base USS Miguel Keith (ESB 5) salute guests during the ship’s commissioning ceremony. Miguel Keith is the Navy’s third purpose-built expeditionary sea base (ESB). While originally created to operate as a support ship under Military Sealift Command, Miguel Keith has been commissioned to provide greater mission flexibility in accordance with the laws of armed conflict. It is the first U.S. warship named for Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Miguel Keith, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin C. Leitner)

(Original article appears courtesy of Navy.mil)

The Navy commissioned its newest Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) ship USS Miguel Keith (ESB 5) Saturday, May 8, at Naval Air Station North Island, Coronado, California.

Due to COVID-19 limitations, 50 guests were able to attend the ceremony for the ship named in honor of Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipient Lance Cpl. Miguel Keith, who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam exactly 51 years to the day his namesake ship joined the fleet.

“This ship is named after an inspiring leader – a Marine,” said Adm. Craig S. Faller, Commander, U.S. Southern Command, who delivered the ceremony’s principal remarks. “Lt. Gen. Heckl ran through Miguel’s career and more detailed action of that day. But can any of us truly imagine? Close your eyes for a minute and try to think. The sound of gunfire like the worst violent storm any of us have ever been through. The searing heat, suffocating humidity, the chaos, and confusion of battle. The smell of death and destruction. When many would have stepped back, Miguel stepped up. He led the charge courageously focused on his team above all else, and he made a difference. A difference that is continued today.”

Guest speakers for the event also included The Honorable James Geurts, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of the Navy, and Lt. Gen. Karsten S. Heckl, Commanding General, First Marine Expeditionary Force.

“What a great day for our Navy, our Marine Corps, and our nation,” said Geurts. “It’s an exciting time for our Navy and Marine Corps right now as we are retooling as a Naval force. This ship joins that force, as we look to the future. We are going to ask a lot of this ship. We are going to ask a lot of this crew. I am confident that they are up for the charge.”

“It is only fitting that the motto of this beautiful ship is “Semper In Pugna,” which translates to “Always in the Fight”,” said Heckl. “Lance Cpl. Miguel Keith died a true American Hero. His warrior spirit will carry current and future generations of service members aboard this ship as they deploy around the world in service to our great nation.

During the ceremony, USS Miguel Keith’s commanding officer, Capt. Troy A. Fendrick, reported the ship ready, and Mrs. Eliadora Delores Keith, the ship’s sponsor and Miguel Keith’s mother, gave the traditional order to “Man our ship and bring her to life!” via a tearful pre-recorded message.

“This is by far the greatest honor for myself and my entire family,” said Jesse Mendez, Lance Cpl. Keith’s brother. “I want to thank everyone so much on behalf of my family for dedicating this ship in my brother’s name, recognizing him as a war hero and who saved lives for the United States of America.

The Secretary of the Navy approved the commissioning of all ESBs following a determination that the ships could not do their full mission set as USNS-designated ships. Therefore, the commissioning of these ships allows for greater mission flexibility and is consistent with international law.

“Preparing a warship to enter the surface fleet is a privilege and the Miguel Keith crew has done an exceptional job during this challenging time,” said Fendrick. “I am proud of our Sailors’ and Civil Service Mariners steadfast dedication to ship and each other. I am honored to serve as their commanding officer as we bring the ship to life.”

The ceremony concluded, with a musical tribute to Lance Cpl. Miguel Keith’s military service, as the Marine Corps Hymn played and the crew’s battle cry of “For Miguel,” echoed across the pier.

USS Miguel Keith is the third Expeditionary Sea Base (ESB) variant of the Expeditionary Transfer Dock platform (ESD). Expeditionary Mobile Base was previously known as Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) in the Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) program. ESBs are highly flexible platforms that provide logistics movement from sea to shore supporting a broad range of military operations. The ESB variant is designed around four core capabilities: aviation, berthing, equipment staging area, and command and control.

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Navy Christens USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123)

Former Ingalls Shipbuiding President Brian Cuccias and DDG 123 Prospective Commanding Officer Douglas Brayton watch as ship sponsors Virginia Munford, Pickett Wilson and Louisa Dixon officially christen guided missile destroyer Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123). (Photo by Derek Fountain/HII)

(Original article courtesy of Huntington Ingalls)

Huntington Ingalls Industries announced today that its Ingalls Shipbuilding division christened guided missile destroyer Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123) Saturday evening. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a small, socially distanced event was held with limited in-person attendance.

“The christening of Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee is a significant milestone that brings our 34th destroyer one step closer to being introduced into the fleet,” Ingalls Shipbuilding President Kari Wilkinson said. “In these ever-changing times, the significance of what we do has never been more important. We are exceedingly proud of our shipbuilders for their tenacity and perseverance, and look forward to continuing Ingalls’ legacy of building quality ships with respect and pride.”

Recently retired Ingalls Shipbuilding President Brian Cuccias returned to host the christening, which was originally scheduled to occur in 2020 but was postponed due to restrictions surrounding the pandemic.

“I am honored to host this christening and give a final salute to the hardworking men and women who build freedom in this shipyard every day,” Cuccias said. “Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee’s distinguished legacy will remain steadfast with the christening of this great ship, as will the unparalleled craftsmanship of the men and women of Ingalls Shipbuilding.”

DDG 123 is named to honor Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee, the first woman to receive the Navy Cross. Higbee joined the Navy in October 1908 as part of the newly established Navy Nurse Corps, a group of women who would become known as “The Sacred Twenty,” and became the second superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps in January 1911.

Ray Mabus, the 75th Secretary of the Navy, was the keynote speaker.

“This christening is a signal event in the life of a warship deeply engrained in naval tradition when a ship officially bears the name it will carry during its time in the fleet,” Mabus said. “The story and the legacy of Lenah Higbee, and what she represents, will live on for decades around the world through this ship’s voyages and through the lives of the crew who sail aboard her.”

DDG 123 sponsors are Louisa Dixon, Virginia Munford and Pickett Wilson, three women who played an important role during Mabus’ term as governor of Mississippi. Munford spoke on behalf of the three sponsors.

“As we help dedicate this ship for service, let us all join together in the fervent hope and prayer that Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee’s primary mission will be to preserve the peace for future generations,” Munford said.

Rear Adm. Cynthia Kuehner, commander of the Naval Medical Forces Support Command, spoke on behalf of the chief of naval operations.

“I know that USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee will protect and defend our nation with the same zeal, courage and valiant resolve of the Navy nurse for whom she is named,” Kuehner said. “Superintendent Higbee’s legacy is a heroic account of a fearless pioneer, a leader among men and women, an advocate and an agent for necessary change, a visionary, a teacher, a scholar, a scientist, an author, an innovator, a strategist. A Navy nurse.”

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