BATH, Maine – General Dynamics Bath Iron Works celebrated the start of fabrication of the future USS John E. Kilmer (DDG 134) Wednesday, November 8, 2023, at the Structural Fabrication Facility in East Brunswick.
DDG 134 is the 45th of its class built in Bath and fourth Flight III Arleigh Burke destroyer to start construction at Bath Iron Works. Advancements in radar and combat systems make Flight III Arleigh Burkes the most technologically advanced surface combatant in the world. Les Waltz, who has been with BIW for 59 years, was selected to activate the burning machine to cut the first steel for the ship.
Charles Krugh, President of Bath Iron Works, said the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers under construction at BIW are critical assets for the U.S. Navy in performing its mission. “The future USS John E. Kilmer will be an important platform for the Navy to provide for the security of our country and our families. By safely executing high quality work we will deliver a ship that meets our reputation – Bath Built is Best Built.”
The ship is named for John E. Kilmer, a Navy hospitalman who earned the Medal of Honor during the Korean War for his actions treating wounded Marines at the Battle of Bunker Hill. As Communist Chinese forces assaulted the hilltop with artillery and mortars on Aug. 13, 1952, Kilmer was injured but continued to tend to the wounded. Under a mounting barrage of enemy fire, Kilmer used his own body to shield a Marine he was treating and he was mortally wounded. He was chosen to be the namesake of DDG 134 by the Secretary of the Navy in 2019.
General Dynamics is a global aerospace and defense company that offers a broad portfolio of products and services in business aviation; ship construction and repair; land combat vehicles, weapons systems and munitions; and technology products and services. More information about General Dynamics Bath Iron Works can be found at www.gdbiw.com. More information about General Dynamics is available at www.gd.com.
View event photos here.