Some spirits simply can’t be broken. No matter the task at hand, and without regard for the impact on their own health and well-being, some people just get the job done. United States service members in receipt of the nation’s highest recognition of valor, the Medal of Honor, epitomize that unyielding drive.
With never-ending gratitude for their selfless actions, the U.S. Navy has honored many Medal of Honor recipients by making them namesakes for warships in the fleet. In the future, Surface Forces will operate a total of 28 warships with names memorializing moments of heroic sacrifice. Today we recognize three more of the upcoming additions: the future USS Michael Monsoor, the future USS Ralph Johnson, and the future USS Harvey C. Barnum Jr.
The future USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) honors U.S. Navy Master-At-Arms Second Class (SEAL) Michael A. Monsoor. Posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for diving on top of a grenade, Monsoor saved the lives of two of his teammates during a battle with insurgents in Ar Ramadi, Iraq on Sept. 29, 2006. DDG 1001 is scheduled for commissioning into active service in calendar year 2017.
The future USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) honors of U.S. Marine Corps Private 1st Class Ralph H. Johnson. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroic actions during the Vietnam conflict. While under heavy attack from North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong forces on March 5, 1968, a grenade landed in the fighting position Johnson and two other Marines were defending. He immediately shouted a warning and hurled himself onto the grenade. Absorbing the blast, Johnson was instantly killed by the explosion.
The future Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG 124) honors U.S. Marine 1st Lieutenant Harvey C. Barnum, Jr. On Dec. 18, 1965, in Vietnam, Barnum aided his mortally wounded Rifle Company Commander, took the radio from the deceased radio operator and, with the unit separated from the rest of the battalion, assumed command. He reorganized the men to replace the loss of personnel and led an attack on key enemy positions. Barnum repeatedly stood-up during
open gunfire to point out targets and maneuvered through enemy fire to control the attack, which ultimately led to the seizure of the battalion’s objective.
As times goes on, these U.S. Navy ships, named for our nation’s heroes, will come to life and travel the globe to help ensure peace and stability; their Sailors will collectively embody the spirit and drive to accomplish the tasks at hand–no matter the cost. Just like their ship’s namesakes.
This series returns in a few weeks as the Surface Navy recognizes the remainder of the Fleet’s Medal of Honor namesakes. Until then please visit our blog weekly to enjoy other great topics surrounding our U.S. Navy’s Surface Forces.