The Navy will christen the newest guided-missile destroyer, the future USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), Saturday, April 1 during a 11:30 a.m. EDT ceremony at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine.
The future USS Thomas Hudner is named in honor of naval aviator and Medal of Honor recipient Thomas J. Hudner Jr., the last living Navy recipient of the Medal of Honor to have served in the Korean War. Georgea Hudner, wife of Capt. Thomas Hudner, and Barbara Miller, wife of retired Vice Adm. Michael Miller, former superintendent of the United States Naval Academy, will serve as the ship’s sponsors.
Hudner was awarded the Medal of Honor for attempting to save the life of his squadron mate, Ensign Jesse L. Brown, in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War. This will be the first U.S. Navy ship to bear the name Thomas Hudner.
Allison Stiller will serve as the principal speaker during the ceremony. Stiller is currently performing the duties of the assistant secretary of the Navy (research, development and acquisition). During the event, Hudner and Miller will break a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow to formally christen the ship—a time-honored Navy tradition.
“This ceremony not only honors a true naval hero, but also the dedicated men and women of our nation's shipbuilding industry, whose skill and diligence have brought this great warship one step closer to joining the fleet.,” said The Honorable Sean Stackley, acting secretary of the Navy.
Thomas Hudner will be the 66th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the fourth of 14 ships currently under contract for the DDG 51 program. The DDG 51 class provides advanced combat capability and survivability characteristics while minimizing procurement and lifetime support costs due to the program's maturity. DDG 51 destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. Destroyers can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups and underway replenishment groups. DDG 113 and follow-on DDGs are being built with Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability.
The 9,200 ton Thomas Hudner is being built by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works. The ship is 509 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.