The Navy accepted delivery of guided-missile destroyer Ralph Johnson (DDG-114) from shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries after the ship successfully completed a series of trials at sea and in port.
Ralph Johnson is the 64th Arleigh Burke class destroyer built for the Navy. Johnson is the third of four DDG-51 Flight IIA destroyer built under a 2008 restart of the line by then-Secretary of Defense Bob Gates. The ship is equipped with Aegis Baseline 9 combat system, which includes an Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability incorporating Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) 5.0 and Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air, according to a Navy statement.
The ship is named for Pfc. Ralph Johnson, a 19-year-old Marine who was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions in Vietnam. In March 1968, Johnson shouted a warning to fellow Marines after a grenade landed in their fighting hole. Johnson then jumped on a grenade, absorbing the blast with his body, dying instantly, but saving the Marines near him. President Richard Nixon awarded Johnson the Medal of Honor in 1970, according to the Navy. The Veterans Affairs hospital in Johnson’s home town Charleston, S.C., was named for him in 1991, according to the VA.
The Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., where Ralph Johnson was constructed, is currently working on future destroyers Paul Ignatius (DDG-117), Delbert D. Black (DDG-119), Frank E. Petersen, Jr. (DDG-121), Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG-123), and is under contract for the future USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125) which will be the first Flight III ship.
Ralph Johnson is scheduled for commissioning March 24, in Charleston, S.C.