Home » Aviation » Destroyer Thomas Hudner Set to Commission on Saturday in Boston

Destroyer Thomas Hudner Set to Commission on Saturday in Boston


An artist rendering of the next Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116). The ship is named after Thomas Hudner, a Medal of Honor recipient and retired Naval aviator. US Navy illustration

The Navy’s newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, Thomas Hudner (DDG-116) is scheduled to be commissioned Saturday morning in a ceremony in Boston.

Hudner will become the 66th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer to join the fleet and will be homeported at the Naval Station Mayport, Fla. Hudner, built by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW), in Bath, Maine. The Navy restarted the DDG-51 line in 2008 with the award of four ships split between BIW and Huntington Ingalls Industries.

The three other DDG-51 restart ships are USS Ralph Johnson (DDG-114), USS John Finn (DDG-113) and USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115). Ralph Johnson and John Finn were both built by HII in Pascagoula, Miss. BIW built Rafael Peralta.

Hudner’s namesake, Capt. Thomas Hudner was a native of Fall River, Mass., and a 1946 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. As a Naval aviator, Hudner was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Korean War trying to save his downed wingman near the Chosin Reservoir, according to the Navy.

On Dec. 4, 1950, then Lt. j.g. Hudner, his wingman Ens. Jesse L. Brown and three other pilots were flying an armed reconnaissance mission over North Korea’s Chosin Reservoir to attack North Korean and Chinese troops threatening U.S. forces, according to a description of events on the U.S. Naval Institute Naval History Blog.

Brown’s F4U-4 Corsair was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crash landed. Hudner, seeing Brown was alive but unable to escape his downed fighter, decided to crash land his plane to help Brown until a rescue helicopter could arrive. Ultimately, Hudner and crew members of a rescue helicopter were unable to save Brown, as told by the Naval History Blog.

Hudner’s Medal of Honor was the first awarded for actions in Korea. He passed away Nov. 13, 2017, age of 93, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

“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,” Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer said in a statement. “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.”

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is slated to give the principal address. The ship’s sponsors are Hudner’s widow, Georgea Hudner, and Barbara Miller, wife of retired Vice Adm. Michael Miller, former superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy.

  • Ed L

    A great Motto: “Above all Others”. A fast ship that can go in harms way

    • Oskar

      As long, as the water is deep enough….

      Too bad the OHP’s weren’t replaced with a decent successor.

      • Ed L

        The OPH’s were tough ships but the Brass didn’t like them so they dump them asap. The Republic of China kept there’s with the MK 13 launchers with its 41 missiles

        • Oskar


          It was short sighted of the USN to ditch their frigates.

          A huge DDG or CG isn’t required for a lot of missions, or even practical.

        • Duane

          The Perrys were a very old (1970s) and obsolete design, and should have been replaced a decade ago.

          The ROC also still operates two former US Tench and Balao class World War Two era diesel submarines, 70 some years old. Hardly a reason to say we should still be operating those old boats too.

          Time moves on, as do ship designs.

      • Duane

        FFG(X) will be far better than the OHPs. It just took a long time to produce a replacement, because for about a decade and a half, the Navy didn’t think it needed a long range surface escort. By the time the last OHPs retired in 2015, the Navy was behind the power curve on designing a replacement, resulting in a decade plus long gap.

  • Graeme Rymill

    According to Wikipedia Thomas Hudner is the first Flight IIA Technology Insertion Aleigh Burke class. There seems very little publicly available information about this Technology Insertion other than it incorporates some elements that will also be in the Flight IIIs. Presumably these enhancements are classified.

    • Ser Arthur Dayne

      I have also done a lot of Googling on that , as it is an area of interest for me, but I can’t really find much “technology being inserted” information/facts.

      Although I’m sure they know what they’re doing.

      What I would really like to know, and it always sparks a huge back-and-forth on here when I say it and keyboard commandos get all mad and try to explain why I’m so bad for even wanting to know, is what the VLS loadouts look like. How many each of what type of missiles, etc.

    • Duane

      Would AEGIS Baseline 9 be part of that technical insertion? This version is only a year old, tested last year on the USS Mobile Bay … so it would make sense to install it on the latest Flight IIA Restarts.

      • NavySubNuke

        Data: “The success of the Bath Iron Works (BIW) built future USS Thomas Hudner during acceptance trials is a testament to the continued quality and high performance of our Navy’s destroyers,” said Capt. Casey Moton, DDG 51 class program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. “The Thomas Hudner is a very capable warfighter that will be a significant asset to the fleet.”

        Thomas Hudner is equipped with the AEGIS Baseline 9 Combat System which includes an Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability incorporating Ballistic Missile Defense 5.0 Capability Upgrade and Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air. The ship’s IAMD radar will provide increased computing power and radar upgrades that improve detection and reaction capabilities against modern air warfare threats.”
        Source: Navy Recognition “Flight IIA Technology Insertion Destroyer Thomas Hudner Completes Acceptance Trials” Dated May 2018

        • Graeme Rymill

          What distinguishes Flight IIA Restarts from Flight IIA Technology Insertions (assuming that Wikipedia has got it right and that these are in fact two distinct Flight IIA variants)?

          All three Flight IIA Restarts – USS John Finn, USS Ralph Johnson and USS Rafael Peralta – have Baseline 9. Even some Flight Is have been modernized with Baseline 9. For example USS Milius joined the 7th Fleet this May with Baseline 9.

          USS John Finn has an even more advanced version: ACB-16 Baseline 9.C2. In October USS John Finn test fired an SM-3 Block IIA using this Baseline version. According to one web site the C2 version ” integrates additional capabilities such as BMD 5.1; SPQ-9B integration into the AWS Fire Control Loop (FCL); MH-60R integration; improved Electronic Warfare via the Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP); improved Interoperability via expanded Tactical Data Link (TDL) capability with Link 22; and improved shipboard training capability via implementation of Total Ship Training Capability (TSTC).” Perhaps this is the Technology Insertion and USS John Finn is the test ship? However testing of this updated C2 version is expected to be ongoing till FY22 so maybe “Technology Insertion” is something all together different?

          • Graeme Rymill

            Baseline 9 C2 also integrates with SM-6 Dual II – the version of the missile that can also engage surface targets in addition to air targets.

          • Graeme Rymill

            One final thought:

            Previously AEGIS “technology insertions” have been computer hardware upgrades occurring every 4 years. TI-18 (i.e. Technology Insertion 18) is scheduled for 2018. Perhaps the only difference between the Restart Flight IIA and the Technology Insertion IIAs is that the computer hardware has been upgraded to handle ACB-20/Baseline 10 which the Flight IIIs should have and the Flight IIAs should eventually have. See this report “Assessing Aegis Program Transition to an Open-Architecture Model”, published in 2013.

  • Duane

    Welcome to the Fleet, USS Hudner!

    You’re named after a bona fide hero.

  • PolicyWonk

    A beautiful ship…

    Fair winds and following seas to all that sail her!