Home Americas US Navy christens newest destroyer Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123) with a...

US Navy christens newest destroyer Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123) with a bang

Photo: Screengrab

The US Navy christened its newest Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, the future USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123), in an evening ceremony in Pascagoula, Miss, on April 24.

What made this christening ceremony stand out from the rest is the fact that it took place a bit later in the day than it is usual for the navy. The service and the shipbuilder – Huntington Ingalls Industries – used to opportunity to organize a fireworks display for those in attendance.

Former US Navy secretary Ray Mabus delivered the christening ceremony’s principal address. As is the navy tradition, the ship’s sponsors, Louisa Dixon, Virginia Munford, and R. Pickett Wilson christened the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.

The ship’s namesake, Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee, served as the second Superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps in 1911, and was also the first living woman recipient of the Navy Cross.

When she entered naval service in 1908, she was one of the first 20 women, known as the “Sacred Twenty,” to join the newly established Navy Nurse Corps and contributed her nursing skills to the Navy during the First World War. This is the second ship named after Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee. The first ship, USS Higbee (DD 806), was the first combat warship named after a female member of the US Navy.

US Navy graphic

“The future USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee will serve for decades as a reminder of Ms. Higbee’s service to our nation and her unwavering support of a strong and healthy Navy and Marine Corps team,” said Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Harker. “This ship honors not only her service but that of all of our Navy nurses who support the strength and wellbeing of our service members and their families.”

The ship will be the 73rd Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, and is one of 20 ships currently under contract for the DDG 51 program. The ship is configured as a Flight IIA destroyer, which enables power projection and delivers quick reaction time, high firepower, and increased electronic countermeasures capability for anti-air warfare.