The U.S. Navy will commission its newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, the future USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117), during a 10 a.m. EDT ceremony at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on July 27.
The ship is named in honor of Paul Robert Ignatius, who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and later during the Lyndon B. Johnson administration as assistant secretary of defense for installations and logistics from 1964 – 1967, and secretary of the Navy from 1967 – 1969.
Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer, who is also performing the duties of deputy secretary of defense, will deliver the commissioning ceremony’s principal address. Ignatius’ wife, Nancy, who passed away earlier this year, is the ship’s sponsor. Dr. Elisa Ignatius, granddaughter to the late Mrs. Nancy Ignatius, will serve as the ship sponsor representative. Dr. Ignatius will honor naval tradition when she gives the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”
“The future USS Paul Ignatius stands as proof of what the teamwork of all our people – civilian, contractor and military – can accomplish together,” said Spencer. “From the start of the acquisition process, to the keel laying and christening, to today’s commissioning and the many missions she will fulfill going forward, this destroyer enhances our capabilities for air, undersea, surface, strike and ballistic missile defense.”
DDG-117 is the Navy’s 67th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and the second of eight planned Flight IIA “technology insertion” ships. It will feature the Aegis Baseline 9 combat system that will allow the ship to simultaneously patrol for ballistic missile threats as well as combat traditional air and cruise missiles threats.
The ship is also one of 21 ships currently under contract for the DDG 51 program.
The Navy accepted delivery of the ship from Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) Ingalls shipbuilding division on Feb. 22 this year.
Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are capable, multi-mission ships and 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.
The guided missile 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.