US Navy Destroyer Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125) Christened
Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) christened pre-commissioning unit Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125) at the company’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division in Pascagoula, Miss.
The new 513-foot-long Arleigh Burke-class destroyer is the first of the Flight III variants and 75th overall in the class. It is expected to be commissioned in 2023.
Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are highly 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. Guided missile destroyers are capable of simultaneously fighting air, surface and subsurface battles. The ship contains a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century.
Jack H. Lucas, a longtime resident of Hattiesburg, Miss., was the youngest Marine and youngest service member in World War II awarded the Medal of Honor. During a close firefight with Japanese soldiers, Lucas saved the lives of three Marines when he unhesitatingly placed himself on two grenades.
“Jack H. Lucas made a selfless decision to choose others and country over self,” Ingalls Shipbuilding President Kari Wilkinson said. “Our Ingalls shipbuilders have a deep appreciation and respect for what sailors and Marines do on behalf of our nation. We are proud to support them and to provide them this remarkable ship, our first Flight III destroyer.”
Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Mike Gilday, was the keynote speaker.
“Jack H. Lucas is not only the most capable and sophisticated surface combatant ever built by man, but it also represents the bridge from the past to the future, as we bring a new radar, the Aegis Baseline 10, and a new electric plant onto an already highly capable platform,” Gilday said. “Such an evolution would be impossible without the shipbuilders of Huntington Ingalls Industries and the Pascagoula community. Flight III represents the dedication and commitment of our sailors and civilians — the skill and innovation of our shipyards and industry partners — and the commitment of the American people to keep the seas free and open for all.”
“You have built the finest destroyer in the world,” Gilday said.
Jack H. Lucas is co-sponsored by Ruby Lucas, widow of the ship’s namesake, and Catherine B. Reynolds, chairman and CEO of the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation. Together, the two sponsors officially christened the ship and made remarks during the ceremony.
“May the Jack H. Lucas be indestructible, just like he was,” Ruby Lucas said. “This first of its kind ship is advanced in integrity, courage and commitment to serve our great country. Jack never ran from a fight, and I’m certain that all aboard his namesake will represent Jack with honor. Just as I feel his spirit with me, be assured that he will be with all of you all the time.”
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker and U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo, both of Mississippi, delivered remarks. Other speakers included Meredith Berger, performing the duties of Under Secretary of the Navy, and Maj. Gen. Jason Bohm, commanding general, Marine Corps Recruiting Command.