The Navy’s first Arleigh Burke-class Flight III guided-missile destroyer officially joined the fleet over the weekend.
USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125) entered service in a commissioning ceremony in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday.
“DDG 125 is named for Pfc. Jack Lucas, who served in the U.S. Marines during World War II, earning the Medal of Honor for his heroism at Iwo Jima, when he was just 17 years old. He is the youngest Marine, and the youngest service member in World War II, to be awarded the United States’ highest military decoration for valor,” the Navy said in a news release about the commissioning.
Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Carlos Ruiz, Navy Under Secretary Erik Raven, and U.S. Fleet Forces Command Commander Adm. Daryl Caudle attended the commissioning ceremony at Port Tampa Bay.
“Commissioning the Jack H. Lucas means we continue to deliver fast, agile, and networked surface combatants to the Navy,” Raven said at the commissioning ceremony. “The Jack H. Lucas is built to fight. It is a fast, maneuverable, versatile and lethal ship – capable of tackling any mission it is given. It will keep the Navy and Marine Corps adaptive and ready, and also uphold our commitment to maintaining the free flow of commerce, deterring military aggression, and facilitating quick responses to natural disasters across the globe.”
The destroyer is the first ship to field Raytheon’s new AN/SPY-6 Air and Missile Defense Radar and an updated Aegis Combat System. The Flight IIIs will take over the air defense mission in the Navy’s carrier strike groups once the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers are phased out of service.
HII’s Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., delivered Jack H. Lucas to the Navy in June.
“Ingalls has delivered 35 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers to the U.S. Navy including the Jack H.Lucas (DDG-125), in June of this year. Additionally, Ingalls has four other Flight III destroyers currently under construction including Ted Stevens (DDG-128), Jeremiah Denton (DDG-129), George M. Neal (DDG-131) and Sam Nunn (DDG-133),” Ingalls Shipbuilding said in a news release.
The destroyer will head to its homeport at Naval Base San Diego now that it’s part of the fleet.