BATH, Maine – General Dynamics Bath Iron Works celebrated the keel laying of the future USS Patrick Gallagher (DDG 127) on March 30. The U.S. Navy named the ship in honor of Marine Corps Corporal Patrick Gallagher, an Irish citizen who earned the Navy Cross fighting in Vietnam and was later killed in action. The ship’s sponsors are Gallagher’s sisters Teresa Keegan, Rosemarie Gallagher and Pauline Gallagher.
The sponsors authenticated the keel by striking welding arcs onto a steel plate that will be incorporated into the ship. They were assisted by Edward Hayes, a senior welder with 33 years’ experience at BIW who is helping build DDG 127. The laying of the keel and its authentication signifies the start of hull integration and is the precursor to final integration, launch and sea trials.
Chris Waaler, vice president of programs and planning for Bath Iron Works, hosted the ceremony and welcomed the audience, which included retired Gen. Walter E. Boomer, former assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, retired Brigadier Gen. Michael I. Neil, a Navy Cross recipient and members of Gallagher’s unit in Vietnam.
“More than 1,000 men and women have worked on this ship since we first cut steel,” Waaler said. “We will ensure this ship will be ready to nobly serve our nation, as Corporal Gallagher did for the Marine Corps in Vietnam.”
Bath Iron Works currently has under construction the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers Carl M. Levin (DDG 120), John Basilone (DDG 122), Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG 124) and Patrick Gallagher (DDG 127) as well as the Flight III configuration destroyers Louis H. Wilson Jr. (DDG 126), William Charette (DDG 130) and Quentin Walsh (DDG 132).
More information about General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), can be found at www.gdbiw.com.