Ingalls launches guided missile destroyer Ralph Johnson - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Ingalls launches guided missile destroyer Ralph Johnson

Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) (Photo source: Ingalls Shipbuilding) Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) (Photo source: Ingalls Shipbuilding)
PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) -

A vessel built for the U.S. Navy by Ingalls shipbuilders hit the water for the first time this Saturday. Ingalls launched its 30th Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, the Ralph Johnson (DDG 114).

“The last week of translating this quality ship across land and then launching it from our dry dock is no small task, and our shipbuilders accomplished it in a very efficient manner,” said George Nungesser, Ingalls’ DDG 51 program manager. “All crafts and personnel making up this DDG shipbuilding crew have performed very well, and we were able to launch DDG 114 ahead of schedule. It’s a nice milestone to accomplish as we end the year.”

The ship is scheduled to be christened in spring of 2016. Three other Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are currently under construction at the Pascagoula shipyard.

“This is an exciting milestone and represents a significant amount of effort by our Navy and industry team to get the ship to this point,” said Capt. Mark Vandroff, the Navy’s DDG 51 class program manager. “We’re looking forward to completing outfitting efforts, undergoing test and trials and delivering another highly capable asset to our fleet.”

The Ralph Johnson is named for Pfc. Ralph Henry Johnson, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during the Vietnam War. The 20-year-old South Carolina native hurled himself onto an explosive device, saving the life of one Marine and preventing the enemy from penetrating his section of his patrol’s perimeter.

Johnson had been in Vietnam for only two months when he was killed.

President Richard Nixon posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor to Johnson on April 20, 1970.

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