BATH, Maine – On Saturday, June 18, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works christened the U.S. Navy’s newest guided missile destroyer, the future USS John Basilone (DDG 122). The ship is named for Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone, who received the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross for his heroism in the Battle of Guadalcanal and Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II.
The Saturday morning christening ceremony took place at Bath Iron Works’ shipyard. Speakers included Gov. Janet Mills, Sen. Susan Collins, Vice Adm. Scott Conn, Vice Adm. Francis Morley, Donald Basilone, brother of the namesake, and Sgt. Maj. Troy E. Black, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, who was the principal speaker. Ryan Manion, president of the Travis Manion Foundation, and Amy Looney Heffernan, vice-president of the Travis Manion Foundation, are the ship’s sponsors.
“Make no mistake, that when you see this ship, and you see the name that it bears, the warrior spirit of Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone and every generation of Marines who like me and countless others have followed in his footsteps lives within the soul of this vessel,” said Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy E. Black. “This name represents the perseverance of America, the legacy of the Marine Corps and the grit of our enlisted Marines.”
Chuck Krugh, president of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, told the gathering of roughly 2,000 shipbuilders, family members and invited guests that Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone understood that expertise comes through constant effort and that this ship will honor the national hero for decades to come.
“Today at Bath Iron Works, we’re not going to the front lines ourselves, but our work is,” Krugh said, “and we will do everything we can to make sure that the ships that sail down the Kennebec will be the best built to protect the men and women of our Armed Forces.”
In addition to John Basilone, Bath Iron Works currently has under construction the Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class destroyers Carl M. Levin (DDG 120), Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG 124) and Patrick Gallagher (DDG 127) as well as the Flight III destroyers Louis H. Wilson Jr. (DDG 126), William Charette (DDG 130) and Quentin Walsh (DDG 132).
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.