December 10, 2018
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Destroyer being built in Maine to be named after Marine Corps general

Dennis Griggs | U.S. Navy
Dennis Griggs | U.S. Navy
Rosa Maria Peralta etches her initials into the keel plate of the guided-missile destroyer Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Rafael Peralta (DDG 115) in October 2014 with the assistance of Bath Iron Works welder Bob Morey. The ship is named after Marine Corps Sgt. Rafael Peralta, posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for heroism during the Second Battle of Fallujah. Peralta's sisters, Karen Peralta and Icela Peralta Donald also etched their initials into the ship's hull.

BATH, Maine — Two days after Bath Iron Works learned it was outbid by a Florida shipyard for a potential $11 billion contract to build U.S. Coast Guard cutters, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that a destroyer under contract to be built at the shipyard will be named after Marine Corps Gen. Louis H. Wilson Jr.

The vessel — the DDG 126 — is the final Arleigh Burke-class destroyer awarded to BIW in the Navy’s most recent multiyear contract for destroyers.

Wilson was 26th commandant of the Marine Corps and a Medal of Honor recipient. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Guam during World War II. In July 1944, Wilson, then a captain in the Marine Corps, led his company in repelling and destroying a larger enemy force, according to the release.

He was promoted to general in July 1975 and assumed the office of commandant of the Marine Corps.

“As commandant, Wilson repeatedly stressed modernization of the post-Vietnam Marine Corps,” the release states. “He insisted on force readiness, responsiveness, and mobility by maintaining fast-moving, hard-hitting expeditionary units, each consisting of a single integrated system of modern ground- and air-delivered firepower, tactical mobility, and electronic countermeasures.

In a ceremony Saturday in Oxford, Mississippi, Mabus also announced that the DDG 125, to be built by Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi, will be named after Marine Corps hero Jack H. Lucas, also a recipient of the Medal of Honor.

In 2013, the U.S. Navy awarded nine Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, five to Ingalls and four to BIW, with the option for a fifth.

In December 2015, the Department of Defense announced that an additional DDG 51 destroyer would be awarded to BIW.

Of those being built in Maine, the DDG 115, the future USS Rafael Peralta, is 96 percent complete, BIW spokesman Matt Wickenheiser Monday.

The DDG 116, the future USS Thomas Hudner, is 73 percent complete, and the DDG 118, the future USS Daniel Inouye, is 19 percent complete.

In April, Mabus announced that the DDG 120, also to be built at BIW, would be named for former Michigan Sen.Carl M. Levin. That destroyer, still in the early stages of construction, is scheduled to join the Navy fleet in 2020, the Navy said at the time.

Construction of the DDG 122, the future USS John Basilone, is scheduled to begin this fall, Wickenheiser said in August. The Maine shipyard will begin work on the DDG 124, the future Harvey C. Barnum Jr., in 2017.

Bath Iron Works will begin developing its bid for the next multiyear contract for DDG 51s next year, officials said last week.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the DDG 126, the future USS Louis H. Wilson Jr., was awarded to BIW under a previous memorandum of understanding among the U.S. Navy, BIW and Northrop Grumman.

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