Welcome to Navy Live blog coverage of the commissioning of the Navy’s newest guided-missile destroyer, USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114).
Live coverage is scheduled to begin March 24 at 10 a.m. (EDT) from Columbus Street Pier in Charleston, South Carolina.
DDG-114 honors Marine Corps Pfc. Ralph Henry Johnson, who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity” during the Vietnam War. On March 5, 1968, in an observation post overlooking the Quan Duc Valley, Johnson used his body to shield fellow Marines from a grenade, absorbing the blast and dying instantly. The Charleston native had only been in Vietnam for two months when he was killed at the age of 19.
Gen. Robert Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Georgeann McRaven, wife of retired Adm. Bill McRaven, serves as the ship’s sponsor. In a time-honored Navy tradition, she will give the order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”
Ralph Johnson, the 65th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer to be commissioned, will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. Ralph Johnson will be capable of engaging in air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and will contain a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare, including Integrated Air and Missile Defense capabilities.