Ingalls authenticates keel of DDG 121

Jeremy Lally, a structural welder at Ingalls Shipbuilding, welds the initials of ship sponsor D’Arcy Neller (left) onto the keel plate of the destroyer Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG 121). Photo by Lance Davis HII

By Joseph R. Fonseca

Huntington Ingalls Industries' (NYSE:HII) Ingalls
Shipbuilding division authenticated the keel of the guided
missile destroyer Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG 121) today. The
ship, named in honor of the U.S. Marine Corps' first
African-American general, will be the 33rd Arleigh Burke-class
(DDG 51) destroyer Ingalls has built for the U.S. Navy.

"DDGs are traditionally named after great men and women in the
history of our Navy, and the namesake of DDG 121 is a true
trailblazer and an American hero," Ingalls Shipbuilding President
Brian Cuccias said at a shipyard ceremony. "Like her namesake,
DDG 121 will be strong and capable. She can be no other way,
because our men and women in the Navy-and General Petersen's
legacy-deserve nothing less."

D'Arcy Neller, the wife of Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert
Neller, is the ship's sponsor. Jeremy Lally, a structural welder
at Ingalls, welded her initials onto a steel plate, signifying
the keel of DDG 121 to be "truly and fairly laid." The plate will
remain affixed to the ship throughout the ship's lifetime.

"I appreciate the opportunity to be here with you today and the
effort that goes on in this shipyard," Gen. Neller said. "We're
being contested everywhere in the world right now, especially on
the sea. We need ships like this one, and we need them to go fast
and in harm's way, every day. So I know Ingalls will put great
care, talent and skill into building this ship, and I appreciate
your effort."

The guided missile destroyer honors Frank Emmanuel Petersen Jr.,
who was the Marine Corps' first African-American aviator and
general officer. After entering the Naval Aviation Cadet Program
in 1950, Petersen would go on to fly more than 350 combat
missions throughout the Korean and Vietnam wars.

"This is such an honor for General Petersen and our family,
particularly with this month being Black History Month," said Dr.
Alicia Petersen, widow of Gen. Petersen. "He wasn't a man who
wanted a lot of praise or recognition; however, if he could see
this great ship being built for other young men and young women
to see and look up to, he would be very proud."

Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are highly capable, multi-mission
ships that can conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime
presence and crisis management to sea control and power
projection, all in support of the United States' military
strategy. They are capable of simultaneously fighting air,
surface and subsurface battles. The ships contain myriad
offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime
defense needs well into the 21st century.

Feb 22, 2017

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