Three New Destroyers Named for Military Heroes
U.S. Navy destroyers are traditionally named for prestigious military heroes and decorated war veterans, living legacies that continue to serve the country for three or four decades. Commonly known as the workhorse of the Navy, destroyers help make diplomacy possible with their extensive warfighting capabilities and significant operational missions.
As recently announced by the Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, the Navy will add three well-deserved names to its list of notable ship namesakes. The future Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyers USS John Finn (DDG 113), USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) and USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115) were recognized during a ceremony today at Naval Base San Diego, with representatives from each namesake’s family in attendance.
Mabus named the three destroyers after Navy and Marine Corps heroes whose actions occurred during different conflicts spanning several decades, but who were united in their uncommon valor. Canceling his plans to preside over the ship-naming ceremony after the tragic shooting at the Washington Navy Yard earlier this week, Mabus passed this honor to Lt.Gen. John Toolan, commanding general of First Marine Expeditionary Force.
Lt.Gen. Toolan reminded those in attendance that these ships will sail in every ocean in the world, and that Sailors who are not yet born will serve on the ships in the future. By naming these ships today, he said, we remember the heroism of their namesakes and create living memories.
John Finn, who retired as a lieutenant, was awarded the Medal of Honor from Adm. Chester Nimitz for displaying “magnificent courage in the face of almost certain death” during the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Marine Corps Pfc. Ralph Johnson was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for shouting a warning to his fellow Marines and throwing himself on an explosive device, saving the life of one Marine and preventing the enemy from penetrating his sector of the patrol’s perimeter during the Vietnam War. Marine Corps Sgt. Rafael Peralta was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for selflessly covering a grenade with his body to save his fellow Marines from a blast during Operation Iraqi Freedom.