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SECNAV picks Charleston for USS Ralph Johnson commissioning

By
Ryan Maass
The Future USS Ralph Johnson is named after a Marine who used his body to shield his peers from a grenade blast during the Vietnam War. Pictured: Future USS Ralph Johnson's sister ship, USS Winston Churchill. Photo by U.S. Navy
The Future USS Ralph Johnson is named after a Marine who used his body to shield his peers from a grenade blast during the Vietnam War. Pictured: Future USS Ralph Johnson's sister ship, USS Winston Churchill. Photo by U.S. Navy

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- U.S. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has announced the selection of Charleston, S.C., as the commissioning site for the future USS Ralph Johnson.

The announcement comes one year after the developing vessel was first launched from Huntington Ingalls Industries' shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss. The Navy has not yet set a date for the ceremony.

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Ralph Johnson is the branch's 64th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, and the 30th DDG 51 vessel built by Huntington Ingalls Industries. The company first received the contract to construct the ship in September 2011.

USS Ralph Johnson takes its namesake from Marine Pfc. Ralph Henry Johnson, a Charleston native who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his service during the Vietnam War. Johnson used his body to shield two other Marines from a grenade blast in 1968.

Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are built using all-steel construction, and are designed to operate either independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups and underway replenishment groups. The Navy plans to add an additional 14 of the ships to its fleet.

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