Surface Navy Remembers Medal of Honor Recipients (Part 7)
The U.S. Navy is the greatest Navy the world has ever known – and we intend to keep it that way! To remain the preeminent maritime force, we are dedicated to investing now to produce a more effective and more lethal Surface Force for the future. That means adding ships to the fleet – and while we design for the future, we draw inspiration from the past when we choose bold names for them.
As part of his position, former Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus had the privilege of naming new vessels. In his nearly eight-year tenure, he has selected many monikers, including nine honoring Medal of Honor recipients. These American heroes, whose valiant acts and names represent the fighting spirit desired in a ship, earned the esteemed award through various acts of bravery and sacrifice. This week, as we wrap up this series, we remember the courageous men behind the future USS John Basilone, the future USS Jack H. Lucas, and the future USS Louis H. Wilson Jr.
The future USS John Basilone (DDG 122) honors U.S. Marine Sergeant John Basilone. During fierce battle action against enemy Japanese forces in Lunga Area, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands on Oct. 24-25, 1942, one of the two heavy machine gun sections he was in charge of was put out of action. Basilone immediately put another gun into position and into action. He then repaired and manned a separate gun until replacements arrived. Later when American gunners’ ammunition grew critically low and supply lines were cut off, Basilone battled his way through hostile lines to deliver replenishment rounds which directly contributed in the neutralization of a Japanese regiment.
The future USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125) honors the youngest U.S. Marine and service member in World War II to receive the Medal of Honor. During the Battle of Iwo Jima, then Private 1st Class Jacklyn Harold Lucas and three others were ambushed by hostile forces and attacked by enemies using rifle fire and hand-grenades. Lucas selflessly hurled himself upon a grenade and pulled the other under him in order to absorb the blasts and shield his comrades. One grenade didn’t detonate and the other merely caused non-fatal wounds. His inspiring act protected his fellow Marines and enabled them to go on to rout the Japanese patrol and continue the advance.
The future USS Louis H. Wilson Jr. (DDG 126) honors U.S. Marine Corps General Louis H. Wilson Jr. for heroic actions during the World War II Battle of Guam in July 1944. Then a captain and commanding officer of a rifle company, Wilson led his men in taking and holding a hill against enormous odds. Although wounded three times, he fought against counterattacks throughout the night. During the epic 10-hour fight, he took part in fierce hand-to-hand combat and made a dash into open space beyond the frontlines to rescue a wounded Marine. Wilson later lead a 17-man patrol in taking a strategic slope essential to the security of their position and, despite losing 13 fellow soldiers, seized the objective. He was promoted to the rank of General on July 1, 1975, and assumed the office of commandant of the Marine Corps.
With inspirational namesakes like these, the Surface Force of the future is off to a great start – for surely the crews that man such ships will embody the fighting spirits of their namesakes as they stand ready with the ability to impose local maritime superiority when and where needed.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our entire ‘Surface Navy Remembers Medal of Honor Recipients’ series and took pleasure in learning about each of the 28 heroic men whose indomitable spirits live on, at least in part, through our mighty surface warships named in their honor.