Ingalls holds keel ceremony for new guided missile destroyer
PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - A life spent serving his country and making huge sacrifices is the legacy of Jeremiah Denton, Sr. The U.S. Navy’s latest guided missile destroyer will take on that name. The vessel’s being assembled at Ingalls Shipbuilding.
“Shipbuilding is about community and is a family business,” said Kari Wilkinson, president of Ingalls.
Tuesday’s keel authentication ceremony for the DDG-129 also served as a history lesson on the man Jeremiah Denton was.
“He was dedicated to the service of our country, in the Navy for 34 years,” Wilkinson added.
Denton earned the Navy Cross, was shot down in Vietnam and was held as a POW for eight years. After that ordeal and his homecoming, he served as a U.S. congressman.
“I was actually stationed at Seymour John AFB with one of Sen. Denton’s fellow prisoners at the Hanoi Hilton,” said Sen. Roger Wicker. “Col. Johnson and I served in Congress together. I was relating to the crowd today how delighted Sam Johnson was that one of the prisoners was finally being recognized with a ship, and he said ‘Jerry’s the guy.’”
Denton’s daughters were on hand and said the pride they felt when the keel was being authenticated was out of this world.
“We know this collaboration, hard work and expertise will result in a great ship,” said Madeline Denton Doak. “To have his name on the side of a ship, and to have those people on that ship...I hope and feel that they will learn about him because it’s been 50 years since that happened but it is even more relevant today.”
The Jeremiah Denton is in the Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers.
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