BATH, Maine --- On April 1, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works christened the U.S. Navy's newest guided-missile destroyer, Thomas Hudner (DDG 116). The ship is named for Capt. Thomas Hudner Jr., who intentionally crash landed his plane in an effort to save Ensign Jesse Brown, the nation's first African-American Navy pilot, during the Korean War's Chosin Reservoir campaign.
The Saturday morning christening ceremony took place at Bath Iron Works' shipyard and was attended by Capt. Hudner as well as several members of his family and the family of Ensign Brown. Speakers included Sen. Susan Collins, Sen. Angus King, Rep. Chellie Pingree and Rep. Bruce Poliquin. Allison Stiller, Principal Civilian Deputy, performing the duties and functions of the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition, was the principal speaker.
Georgea F. Hudner, wife of the namesake, and Barbara Joan Miller, wife of Vice Admiral Michael Miller, former superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, are the ship's sponsors and officially christened the ship by breaking bottles of sparkling wine against its bow.
Dirk Lesko, president of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, said "Our sailors and Marines depend on the tools we give them to perform when put to the test. When the future USS Thomas Hudner goes to sea as part of the Navy fleet, it will do so with the fearless spirit of an American hero backed by the promise of Maine's shipbuilders that Bath Built is Best Built."
The keel for Thomas Hudner, the 36th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer built by Bath Iron Works, was laid on Nov. 16, 2015.
Guided-missile destroyers are multi-mission surface combatants capable of conducting Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW). Destroyers can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups, and underway replenishment groups.