The Navy commissioned its newest guided-missile destroyer, the future USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), on Saturday, March 24, at Columbus Street Pier in Charleston, South Carolina.
The future USS Ralph Johnson honors Marine Corps Pfc. Ralph Henry Johnson, who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity” during the Vietnam War.
On March 5, 1968, in an observation post overlooking the Quan Duc Valley, Johnson used his body to shield fellow Marines from a grenade, absorbing the blast and dying instantly.
The Charleston native had only been in Vietnam for two months when he was killed at the age of 19.
(Learn More. The Navy commissioned its newest guided-missile destroyer, the future USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), during a 10:00 a.m. EDT ceremony Saturday, March 24, at Columbus Street Pier in Charleston, South Carolina. Courtesy of the U.S. Navy and YouTube. Posted on Mar 22, 2018)
Gen. Robert Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, delivered the ceremony’s principal address.
Mrs. Georgeann McRaven, wife of retired Adm. Bill McRaven, served as the ship’s sponsor and in a time-honored Navy tradition, gave the order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”
“The future USS Ralph Johnson will become one of the most capable weapons in our nation’s arsenal,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer.
“It will serve for decades to come as a fitting tribute to the heroic actions of Pfc. Ralph Johnson who, in the face of certain death, sacrificed his own life to save the life of a fellow Marine.”
Ralph Johnson, the 65th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer to be commissioned, will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection.
Ralph Johnson will be capable of engaging in air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and will contain a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare, including Integrated Air and Missile Defense capabilities.
The first U.S. Navy ship named for Pfc. Ralph Henry Johnson, USMC (11 January 1949–5 March 1968), who received the Medal of Honor (posthumously) for his “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity” during the Vietnam War.
(Learn More. Medal of Honor recipient Private First Class Ralph Johnson is the namesake of the guided missile destroyer DDG 114. His courage inspiring valor and selfless devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country. Courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries and YouTube)
DDG-114: displacement 9,140; length 510′; beam 59′; draft 31′; speed 30+ knots; complement 314; armament 1 5-inch, Mk 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) for 96 BGM-109 Tomahawks, RGM-84 Harpoons, SM-2MR Standards, Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSMs), and RUM-139 VL-ASROC Antisubmarine Rockets, 1 Close In Weapon System (CIWS), 2 25 millimeter, 4 machine guns, 6 Mk 32 torpedo tubes, and Kingfisher mine-avoidance system; aircraft 2 Sikorsky MH-60B/R Seahawks; class Arleigh Burke)
Ralph Johnson (DDG-114) was laid down on 12 September 2014 at Pascagoula, Miss., by Huntington Ingalls Industries; launched on 12 December 2015; sponsored by Mrs. Georgeann B. McRaven, wife of Adm. William H. McRaven, Commander, Special Operations Command; completed her builder’s trials in the Gulf of Mexico on 20 July 2017; and was delivered on 15 November 2017.