New US destroyer Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) to commission March next year

The US Navy’s next Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, the USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), is to be commissioned on March 24, 2018, in Charleston, South Carolina, US Navy secretary Richard V. Spencer has announced.

Ralph Johnson, commanded by Cmdr. Jason Patterson, is the 64th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, and the 30th DDG 51 class destroyer built by the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) shipyard. It is the first warship named for Medal of Honor recipient Marine Pfc. Ralph Henry Johnson.

Johnson, a native of Charleston, 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.

In early fall of 2014, the keel of Ralph Johnson was laid down. The ship was launched on Dec. 12, 2015 and christened on April 2, 2016 during ceremonies at the Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

The DDG 51 class ships currently being constructed are Aegis Baseline 9 Integrated Air and Missile Defense destroyers with increased computing power and radar upgrades that improve detection and reaction capabilities against modern air warfare and ballistic missile defense threats. The Aegis Combat System will enable DDG 114 to link radars with other ships and aircraft to provide a composite picture of the battle space. When operational, DDG 114 and her sister ships will serve as integral players in global maritime security.

After commissioning in Charleston, Ralph Johnson will head for the Everett, Washington, homeport.

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