Navy to Christen Guided Missile Destroyer
The Navy will christen its newest Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), Saturday, April 2, during a 10 a.m. CDT ceremony at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
The ship will be christened by the ship sponsor, Georgeanne McRaven. The Honorable Sean Stackley, assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition will deliver the principal address.
"The christening of the future USS Ralph Johnson represents yet another example of how our Navy's partnership with the highly-skilled shipbuilders of our nation continues to help us grow our fleet," said Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus. "Because of the hard work of these men and women, the name Ralph Johnson, and the heroism this name embodies, will live on for years to come in the steel of this great warship and the deeds of the sailors and Marines who sail aboard her."
The future Ralph Johnson is the 64th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. The ship will commission in 2017 and will be homeported in Everett, Washington.
The ship is named for Marine Pfc. Ralph Henry Johnson, who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during the Vietnam War. Johnson used his body to shield two fellow Marines from a grenade, absorbing the blast and dying instantly in March 1968.
Destroyers are warships capable of operating independently, or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups, and underway replenishment groups. The DDG 51 class provides outstanding combat capability and survivability characteristics while minimizing procurement and lifetime support costs, due to the program's maturity. DDG 114 and follow on Arleigh Burke destroyers are being built with Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability.
The 9,200 ton Ralph Johnson is being built by Huntington Ingalls Industries. The ship is 509 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.