U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced the names for two new Arleigh Burke-class destroyers in a ceremony at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium on September 17.
DDG 125, will be named Jack H. Lucas in honor of the Marine Corps hero and Medal of Honor recipient while DDG 126 would be named Louis H. Wilson Jr. in honor of the 26th commandant of the Marine Corps who was also a Medal of Honor recipient.
DDG 125 and 126 will be the eighth and ninth ships Mabus has named honoring Medal of Honor recipients. Others include John Finn (DDG 113), Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG 124), John Basilone (DDG 122) and Woody Williams (T-ESB 4).
During World War II, Lucas, then a private first class in the Marine Corps, received the Medal of Honor at age 17 for heroism above and beyond the call of duty during the Battle of Iwo Jima.
During a close firefight with Japanese forces, Lucas saved the lives of three fellow Marines when, after two enemy hand-grenades were thrown into a U.S. trench, he placed himself on one grenade while simultaneously pulling the other under his body. One of the grenades did not explode; the other exploded but only injured Lucas due to the Marine’s selfless actions.
Lucas is the youngest Marine and the youngest service member in World War II to receive the Medal of Honor.
DDG 125 is the first ship to be named for Jack H. Lucas.
Gen. Louis H. Wilson Jr. received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Guam during World War II.
During the assault on Guam in July, 1944, while commanding Company F, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, Wilson, then a Marine Corps Capt., earned the nation’s highest honor for heroism in combat when he and his company repelled and destroyed a numerically superior enemy force.
Wilson was promoted to General on July 1, 1975, when he assumed the office of Commandant of the Marine Corps. As Commandant, Wilson repeatedly stressed modernization of the post-Vietnam Marine Corps. He insisted on force readiness, responsiveness, and mobility by maintaining fast-moving, hard-hitting expeditionary units, each consisting of a single integrated system of modern ground- and air-delivered firepower, tactical mobility, and electronic countermeasures.
DDG 126 will be the first ship named in honor of Louis H. Wilson Jr.
DDG 125 will be constructed by Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Miss., and DDG 126 will be constructed by Bath Iron Works in Maine. Both are expected to enter the Navy fleet in 2023.