General Dynamics Bath Iron Works celebrated the keel laying of the third and final Zumwalt-class destroyer, future USS Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002), on January 30.
The U.S. Navy named the ship in honor of President Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th president of the United States, credited with enacting major civil rights, education and public welfare legislation, including the Voting Rights Act and the creation of the Head Start Program and Medicare.
President Johnson’s daughters, Lynda Johnson Robb and Luci Baines Johnson, are the ship sponsors. A special steel plate containing
the initials of the sisters was prepared for the ceremony. Assisted by Timothy Trask, a 30-year Bath Iron Works welder, the sponsors authenticated the laying of the keel by striking welding arcs onto the steel plate.
The DDG 1002 is more than half completed and the keel unit, a 4,000-ton module, was moved onto the building ways from the shipyard’s Ultra Hall construction facility earlier this winter, signifying the start of hull integration and the pre-cursor to integration, test and trials.
Brent West, DDG 1000 program manager for Bath Iron Works, hosted the ceremony and welcomed the audience of Bath Iron Works employees
, Navy personnel
and representatives of other major subcontractors in the program, as well as the ship’s sponsors.
“This ceremony marks the beginning of a relationship between the shipbuilders who craft the ship and the family that imbues it with the spirit of its namesake,” West said. Addressing Ms. Johnson and Mrs. Robb, he went on to say, “We are honored to have you here and honored that this ship will bear the name of President Johnson - a great statesman, a determined patriot and a committed leader who dedicated his life to the service of our country.”