The US Navy held a keel-laying ceremony for the future USS John Basilone (DDG 122) at the General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) shipyard on January 10.
The ship’s sponsors authenticated the keel by etching their initials into the keel plate, a tradition that symbolically recognizes the joining of modular components and the ceremonial beginning of the ship.
Future USS John Basilone is the 72nd Arleigh Burke-class destroyer to be built for the US Navy.
As a Flight IIA Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, John Basilone will employ the Aegis Baseline 9 Combat System, which includes Integrated Air and Missile Defense capability, delivers quick reaction time, high firepower, and has increased electronic countermeasures capability for Anti-Air Warfare.
The ship’s namesake was a United States Marine Corps gunnery sergeant who was killed in action during the Battle of Iwo Jima in WWII. Basilone received the Medal of Honor for heroism displayed in the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942, and for conspicuous gallantry displayed in the Battle of Iwo Jima, after he single-handedly destroyed an enemy blockhouse and led a Marine tank under fire safely through a minefield.
In addition to John Basilone, BIW has four additional Arleigh Burke class destroyers under construction – Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), Carl M. Levin (DDG 120), Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG 124) and Patrick Gallagher (DDG 127), as well as the Zumwalt class destroyer Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002). BIW is under contract for an additional six Arleigh Burke class destroyers that will all be constructed in the Flight III configuration with enhanced air and missile defense capabilities.