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Navy Names Destroyer After Irish Marine Patrick Gallagher

Illustration of the future Arleigh-Burke class guided missile destroyer USS Gallagher (DDG-127). US Navy Photo

The last Flight IIA Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyer will be named for an Irish-born Marine who earned the Navy Cross during the Vietnam War, Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer announced in a Washington, D.C. ceremony on Monday.

Lance Cpl. Patrick Gallagher

The future USS Gallagher (DDG-127) will be named in honor of Lance Cpl. Patrick Gallagher. An immigrant from Ballyhaunis in West Ireland, Gallagher joined the Marines in 1966 and shortly after shipped out to Vietnam with 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment.

Early in the morning on July 18, 1966 near Cam Lo an enemy soldier threw a grenade in his defensive position.

“Lance Corporal Gallagher, awake and displaying keen presence of mind, immediately kicked the grenade out of the position where it exploded at a safe distance,” read the citation for Gallagher’s Navy Cross.
“Another enemy grenade followed and landed in the position between two of his comrades. Without hesitation, in a valiant act of self-sacrifice, Lance Corporal Gallagher threw himself upon the deadly grenade in order to absorb the explosion and save the lives of his comrades.”

Miraculously, the grenade did not detonate until his squad leader told him to throw it in the water where it immediately exploded. He was killed a year later near De Nang on March 30, 1967. He was one of 30 Irish citizens killed during the war.

“Lance Cpl. Gallagher is an American hero. His exemplary service in defense of our nation and his strength and sacrifice leaves an example for all servicemen and women to emulate,” Spencer said in a statement.
“His legacy will live on in the future USS Gallagher and his heroic actions will continue to inspire future sailors and Marines.”

The ship will be built at the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard in Bath, Maine. The destroyer will be the last Flight IIA configuration of the Burke destroyer-class before the Flight III configuration.

The planned USS Louis H. Wilson, Jr. (DDG-126) will be Bath’s first Flight III destroyer that will feature an updated combat system centered on the new Raytheon AN/SPY-6 air and missile defense radar.

The numerical mismatch is due to nature of how the contracts for the ships were awarded by the Navy and funded by Congress.

“DDG-126 was awarded under the contract that was part of a multi-year competition for DDG 51-class destroyers in 2013. DDG-127 was approved by Congress under separate legislation,” read a statement from General Dynamics in September.

  • Western

    Fare thee well, USS Gallagher.

  • Chesapeakeguy

    God Bless him..

  • Ed L

    Fair Winds and Following Seas USS Gallagher

  • DaSaint

    Another brave immigrant to our shores, who gave his life for our country. God bless him and all those men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice wearing the uniform.

  • airider

    Glad they named the ship after a real hero. On a sperate topic, have we still not found a use for the topside space CIWS used to occupy forward? That position is just screaming for a 30-40mm stabilized rapid fire cannon.

    • David Oldham

      No it actually screams for the CIWS to be put there.

    • mikehorn

      A Jane’s article from about a year ago said they were holding that space for a future weapons system like a high energy laser, and previously it was some version of ESSM that fell through.

      All flight iiA’s are supposed to have at least one CIWS, and that appears to be aft.

  • NavySubNuke

    Great selection by SECNAV and his team.
    As an aside – the SEA TIGER team really did him a disservice — he didn’t “win” an Navy Cross —> he EARNED a Navy Cross.

  • Sir Bateman

    It’s nice to see the SecNav naming destroyers after deserving USN & USMC servicemen, and not going with the bizarre convention breaking names that SecNav Ray Mabus periodically chose. For example naming a Burke after Carl Levin, who never served in the Armed Forces, or former Senator Daniel Inouye, who while a war hero served in the U.S. Army not the USN or USMC.

    • skeets11

      I fully agree, and while they are at it they should start naming carriers using the old naming convention. Battles and famous navy warships.

      • @USS_Fallujah

        I’m trying to think of who would be the next worthwhile President or Senator who’d make a good naming candidate for a CVN after CVN-81. A more hopeful person my think that the USS Enterprise might open the door for a better naming policy for capital ships, but I’m not that person so I assume USS William Jefferson Clinton or USS Orin Hatch is unavoidable for CVN-82.

        • Sir Bateman

          Call me naive, but I just don’t see Clinton ever getting a carrier named after him. Since the FDR was commissioned all politicians that have gotten a carrier named after them were either big friends of the Navy during their respective legislative careers or were Presidents that had relatively distinguished war records.

          Clinton fits neither category, heck even LBJ didn’t get a carrier.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            USS Clinton was intended as a joke, and regarding LBJ, Dems hated him as much as GOPers did (or more!), but for personal reasons.
            I recall when congress wanted a CVN named for Carter, but the USN was adamantly opposed because Carter had never been a supporter of naval aviation so it was an SSN instead…
            My personal hope is the bring back either the first supercarrier names, or go even further back and us the classic WWII era names (not being used by CGs or ‘Phibs). USS Yorktown has particular appeal to me….the old Waltzing Matilda holds a special place in my heart.

          • Sir Bateman

            lol, I should have picked up that you were kidding. Wasn’t there a movement afoot to name a CVN after Ted Stevens of all people a few years back?

            I have to agree about naming the next carrier Yorktown, heck I’d be just as happy with Lexington, Saratoga or Hornet as well. Even Midway or Coral Sea would seem very appropriate given their importance in US Naval history, and specifically as regards US naval aviation.

          • Sage_on_the_Hudson

            I’ve always preferred and admired the British penchant for naming their naval vessels after timeless virtues, rather than real individuals who may, or may not, deserve the honor, or pass in and out of fashion depending on which way the political winds blow. It’s all too rarely done by the USN, though occasionally one of those honorable virtues, like Enterprise, manages to sneak in.

          • El_Sid

            There’s a lot of “RN” names among eg the T-AGOS’s. I think there’s a deeper thing to it though, that the US is a more individualistic society that identifies more easily with individual “heroes”.

        • skeets11

          I’d dump the people and go with USS Yorktown, the name became available not long ago with the cruiser so named was mothballed. BTW, cruisers should go back to being named after cities.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            It might be another generation before we commission another Cruiser, and by then all the good city names will be taken by the Gator Navy and SSC (I’m assuming the FFG(X) will follow the same naming convention as the LCS, but hopefully not – so many worthwhile heroes to name DDGs and FFGs after). Though by then most the 688 SSNs will be retired and that should open up some good city names, unless we start building a lot more ‘Phibs!

        • Lazarus

          Expect a USS John S. McCain as the next carrier to be named after Enterprise (CVN 80.)

          • Sir Bateman

            Given that DDG-56 is named USS John S. McCain wouldn’t that throw a wrench into the works? Granted that vessel was named after John S. McCain Jr. & Sr., but still if they ever operated in the same CVBG together I could see how that might be potentially confusing.

          • @USS_Fallujah

            I assume you mean John S. McCain III after Senator McCain, there is already a USS John S. McCain, named after both John S. McCain, Sr and John S. McCain, Jr. (Sr. Being a WWII TF commander and Jr. being former PacCom during Vietnam). Given Senator McCain’s poor relationship with navy brass (and his fellow Congressmen & Senators) I seriously doubt they’ll name a ship after than McCain for many many years….

        • David412

          USS Chelsea Manning?

          • @USS_Fallujah

            Too soon.

          • El Kabong

            Oprah Winfrey?

          • Steven Haynes

            So would that be a multi-role ship with no clearly defined mission?

        • Dan O’Brian

          How about naming one after our very own and well-esteemed Fleet Admiral, it would be christened the USS Duaneee

          • @USS_Fallujah

            You all love to mock him, but I find his analysis of the LCS no less biased that those bashing it at every turn. IMO it’s far from the Little Crappy Ship and certainly not the end all, be all of naval architecture, but no one seems to want a complicated discussion of the pros and cons of the program and how it fits (and doesn’t) into real life requirements of the USN.

      • Sir Bateman

        I couldn’t agree more. But heck I’m so crazy I think they ought to go back to naming attack subs solely after fish.

  • My only question is this. Have we named a ship after every single sailor or Marine who earned the Medal of Honor, and if not, why are we naming them after Navy Cross recipients?

    I think this brother Marine showed real courage. I’m not questioning his worth.

    But we name ships after congresswomen who get shot now days, as well as any other hero of the snowflake culture.

    If we are naming after sailors and Marines, it really ought to be those who earned the Medal of Honor before we start naming them after anyone else. And I’m pretty sure there are a few thousand MoH recipients who have not yet had ships named after them.

    Again, as far as I’m concerned, Gallagher’s actions probably should have earned him the MoH, but that’s true of many others as well. If we are going to have a standard, instead of just whomever some Senator happens to take a liking too, it should be based on something.

    • @USS_Fallujah

      The USS Gabby Giffords should be renamed the USS Sucking Up to Keep LCS Funded.
      Ray Maybus was nothing if not a cynical hack

  • MDK187

    USS Gallagher – sounds way better than, say, “Owakambe Kimbwki Silverstein”.

  • skeets11

    A brave Marine. The ship’s crew should be proud to carry his name.

  • Donald Carey

    I’m just waiting for those who advocate for the “Dreamers” to make him a poster boy.

  • @USS_Fallujah

    I appreciate making the ship simply USS Gallagher, not Patrick Gallagher, or throwing in his middle initial for no good reason. Keep it simple, please.

  • FourWarVet

    Seeing that this is the last of the Flight II Burke’s it is proof once again that behind every great American achievement you’ll find an Irishman 😉

    A well-selected naming choice in my opinion.

  • robin

    They don’t make them like that any more!! RIP!!

  • John B. Morgen

    I preferred names like, Tiger, Lion, Centurion, Eagle, or ominous names of war.

    • El Kabong

      HMCS Swansea – Four U-boat kills.

  • Sage_on_the_Hudson

    “He was killed a year later near De Nang on March 30, 1967.”

    Da Nang.