Navy to Commission Guided-Missile Destroyer USS Thomas Hudner

Jesse Brown and Thomas Hudner. (Courtesy of the US Navy)

The United States Navy will commission its newest guided-missile destroyer, the future USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), during a 10:00 a.m. EST ceremony at Flynn Cruiseport in Boston, Massachusetts on Saturday, Dec. 1.

The future USS Thomas Hudner honors naval aviator and Medal of Honor recipient Capt. Thomas J. Hudner, Jr..

President Harry S. Truman awarded the Medal of Honor to Capt. Hudner on April 13, 1951, who displayed “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity” in attempting to save the life of his squadron mate, Ensign Jesse L. Brown, during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War.

(The Navy’s latest destroyer is named in honor of Navy pilot Capt. Thomas Hudner, a Fall River native and longtime Concord resident. WBZ-TV’s David Wade reports. Courtesy of CBS Boston and YouTube. Posted on Nov 29, 2018.)

On 4 December 1950, Ens. Jesse L. Brown of Fighter Squadron (VF) 32, embarked on board aircraft carrier Leyte (CV-32) and the first African American to complete the Navy’s basic flight training program for pilot qualification and to be designated a naval aviator, flew a close support run in a Vought F4U-4 Corsair over Hagaru-ri, North Korea.

Antiaircraft fire struck the Corsair and Brown made an emergency landing beyond Chosin [Changjin].

Darkness approached and the temperature fell, and Brown’s wingman, Lt. ( j.g.) Hudner, crash landed wheels-up and attempted to pull Brown from the wreck.

The buckled fuselage trapped the pilot’s legs, so Hudner packed snow around him to extinguish smoke, and returned to his aircraft to radio for a rescue Sikorsky HO3S-1, flown by 1st Lt. Charles C. Ward, USMC, of Marine Observation Squadron (VMO) 6.

(The 1950s were a time of great racial division in America, but when Jesse Brown, the Navy’s first black aviator, was shot down over North Korea, his wingman Thomas Hudner did the unthinkable to try and save him — crashed his own plane into the same mountain. Courtesy of AOL and YouTube. Posted on Sep 14, 2012.)

Although Brown perished in the incident, Hudner survived the war and retired from the Navy after 26 years of service, passing away on Nov. 13, 2017 at the age of 93.

Capt. Hudner was interred with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on April 4, 2018, and this will be the first U.S. Navy ship to bear the name Thomas Hudner.

(Learn More. A naval aviator who earned the Medal of Honor during the Korean Conflict was laid to rest this afternoon with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. Courtesy of All Hands and YouTube. Posted on Apr 5, 2018.)

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is scheduled to deliver the ceremony’s principal address, and the ship’s sponsors Georgea Hudner, widow of Capt. Thomas Hudner, and Barbara Miller, wife of retired Vice Adm. Michael Miller, former superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy will give the order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”

“The commissioning of USS Thomas Hudner continues a spirit of faithful service that Thomas Hudner embodied throughout his life, and his legacy will live on in those who serve aboard this ship,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer.

Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer
Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer

“USS Thomas Hudner is a testament to what the service and teamwork of all of our people – civilian, contractor and military – can accomplish together, from the start of the acquisition process, to the delivery, to the start of the first watch.”

The future USS Thomas Hudner will be the 66th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, capable of conducting a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection.

Thomas Hudner will be able of engaging in air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously, and will contain a large number of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare, including Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capabilities.

(August 31, 2016- 50 U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Selectees traveled from The USS Constitution in Charlestown, MA to Captain Hudner’s home in Concord. Courtesy of Dan Magoon and YouTube. Posted on Sep 18, 2017.)

(DDG-116: 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)

Thomas Hudner (DDG-116) was laid down on 16 November 2015 at Bath, Maine, by Bath Iron Works; cosponsored by Mrs. Georgea F. Hudner and Mrs. Barbara J. Miller, was christened on 1 April 2017; launched on 23 April 2017; and completed her builder’s trials on 31 March 2018; and was delivered on 15 June 2018.

(Learn More. Destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. Destroyers can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups, and underway replenishment groups. Courtesy of the US Navy and YouTube. Posted in January 2016.)

USS Thomas Hudner will be homeported at Florida’s Naval Station Mayport.

The ceremony can be viewed on the Navy Live blog at