General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) laid the keel of the U.S. Navy’s 72nd Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, the future USS John Basilone (DDG 122), at its shipyard in Bath, Maine on Jan. 10.
Speakers at the ceremony included Capt. Seth Miller, DDG 51 class program manager, Diane Hawkins, niece of the ship’s namesake, U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery sergeant John Basilone, and the ship’s sponsors, Amy Looney and Ryan Manion.
The ship’s sponsors authenticated the keel of the future USS John Basilone by etching their initials into the keel plate, a tradition that symbolically recognizes the joining of modular components and the ceremonial beginning of the ship.
Today at Bath Iron Works, the keel was laid for John Basilone (DDG 122). During the ceremony, sponsors of the ship Ryan Manion and Amy Looney welded their names on the keel plate. “We hereby declare that the keel of the future USS John Basilone has been truly and fairly laid!” pic.twitter.com/jB8UXDwHy0
— General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (@GDBIW) January 10, 2020
“It’s an honor to celebrate this milestone with Ms. Looney, Ms. Manion, and members of the Basilone family,” said Miller. “Laying the keel for our nation’s 72nd Arleigh Burke destroyer, and building a ship named for a man who embodied the spirit of commitment and strength, this is a truly special occasion.”
The ship’s namesake was a U.S. Marine Corps gunnery sergeant who was killed in action during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II (WWII). Basilone received the Medal of Honor for heroism displayed in the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942, and for conspicuous gallantry displayed in the Battle of Iwo Jima, after he single-handedly destroyed an enemy blockhouse and led a Marine tank under fire safely through a minefield.
This is the second U.S. Navy vessel to be named after Basilone. The first, USS Basilone (DD-824), was a Gearing-class destroyer commissioned in 1949 and decommissioned in 1977.
Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are multi-mission surface combatants that serve as integral assets in global maritime security, engaging in air, undersea, surface, strike and ballistic missile defense (BMD), as well as providing increased capabilities in anti-submarine warfare (ASW), command and control (C2), and anti-surface warfare (ASuW).
As a Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS John Basilone will employ the Aegis Baseline 9 Combat System, which includes Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability, delivers quick reaction time, high firepower, and has increased electronic countermeasures capability for Anti-Air Warfare (AAM).
In addition to the future USS John Basilone, BIW has four additional Arleigh Burke-class destroyers under construction – Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), Carl M. Levin (DDG 120), Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG 124) and Patrick Gallagher (DDG 127), as well as the Zumwalt class destroyer Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002).
BIW is also under contract for an additional six Arleigh Burke-class destroyers that will all be constructed in the Flight III configuration with enhanced Air and Missile Defense capabilities.