On Oct. 19, Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer announced the newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, Pre-Commissioning Unit Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), will be commissioned during a ceremony Saturday, March 24, 2018 in Charleston, South Carolina.
Ralph Johnson, commanded by Cmdr. Jason Patterson, a Chicago native, 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.
Arleigh Burke (DDG 51 class) class destroyers are highly-capable, multi-mission ships that conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence to national security. These DDG’s provide a wide range of warfighting capabilities in multi-threat air, surface, and subsurface environments. The ship’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense radar will provide increased computing power and radar upgrades that improve detection and reaction capabilities against modern air warfare threats, as well as ballistic missile defense. The Aegis Combat System will enable the ship to link radars with other ships and aircraft to provide a composite picture of the battle space, and effectively increase the theater space. New ships in this class, such as Ralph Johnson, have anti-ballistic missile capabilities as well. The DDG’s all-steel construction provides a survivable platform.
After commissioning in Charleston, she will make her way to homeport in Everett, Washington.