The US Navy christened the future Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS John Basilone (DDG 122) in a ceremony on Saturday, June 18, at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine.
Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Troy Black delivered the christening ceremony’s principal address, while Ryan Manion and Amy Looney Heffernan, president and vice president of the Travis Manion Foundation, served as the ship’s sponsors.
The ship’s namesake, Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone, received the Medal of Honor for heroism displayed in the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II, where he led his heavy machine gun sections in defense of a critical position and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy.
Basilone later returned to action at the Battle of Iwo Jima in February of 1944, where he single-handedly destroyed an enemy blockhouse and led a Marine tank under fire safely through a minefield.
He was killed in action later that day and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his unwavering devotion and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice.
“The future USS John Basilone will serve as a constant reminder of the immense impact that actions taken by any one Sailor or Marine can truly have,” said Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro. “Gunnery Sgt. Basilone is a national hero and this ship and crew will honor his legacy for decades to come.”
This is the second ship to honor Basilone. The first, USS Basilone (DD 824), was a Gearing-class destroyer in service from 1945 to 1977.
As a Flight IIA ship, 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.
GDBIW laid the keel for the ship in January 2020, marking the official start of construction works. The destroyer was launched from Land Level to the Kennebec River during a three-day procedure that began on June 10 this year.