General Dynamics Bath Iron Works celebrate the keel laying of 'Michael Monsoor' (DDG 1001), the second ship in the planned 3- ship Zumwalt-class of guided-missile destroyers.
The keel unit is the 4,400-ton, heavily outfitted mid-forebody section of the ship, which was moved from the shipyard's Ultra Hall construction facility earlier in the month onto the building ways.
Brent West, DDG 1000 program manager for Bath Iron Works, hosted the ceremony and welcomed the audience of several hundred Bath Iron Works employees, Navy personnel and representatives of other major subcontractors in the program. "This is a special day, as it marks a milestone in the construction of a ship, a tradition that goes back to the earliest days of shipbuilding – an event that's been done for hundreds of years in this region, and for more than 120 years here at Bath Iron Works," said West.
The ship is named for Petty Officer Second Class Michael Monsoor, a U.S. Navy SEAL who was killed in Ramadi, Iraq, in 2006. Monsoor was on a joint SEAL-Iraqi Army team operating from a rooftop when an insurgent threw a grenade at them. Monsoor jumped on the grenade, covering it and saving three fellow SEALS and eight Iraqi Army soldiers. Monsoor posthumously received the Medal of Honor from President George W. Bush on April 8, 2008. He was also awarded the Bronze Star and the Silver Star for his service in Iraq.
Michael Monsoor's parents, Sally and George Monsoor, authenticated the keel at Bath Iron Works earlier. Sally Monsoor is the ship's sponsor. A special steel plate containing the initials of Sally and George Monsoor was prepared for the ceremony. The two authenticated the laying of the keel by striking welding arcs onto the steel plate, assisted by David Brown, a 35-year Bath Iron Works welder.