July 29 (UPI) -- The Navy will commission the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Rafael Peralta in a ceremony this morning at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego.
Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller will be present to deliver the primary address and the mother of the ship's namesake, Ms. Rose Maria Peralta, will serve as its sponsor.
The new destroyer is named for Marine Corps Sgt. Rafael Peralta, who was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for heroism for protecting fellow Marines during the second Battle of Fallujah in Iraq. After being badly wounded by enemy gunfire during house-to-house fighting, Peralta covered an enemy grenade with his own body to absorb the blast and save the two Marines with him.
"During Operation Iraqi Freedom, Sgt. Peralta acted heroically and sacrificed himself for his fellow Marines," acting Secretary of the Navy Sean Stackley said in a statement.
"He was proud to be an American, proud to be a Marine and we are proud to welcome USS Rafael Peralta to the fleet."
The Peralta will be the 64th Arleigh Burke-class ship to enter service with the U.S. Navy. It will have the newest version of the AEGIS Weapons System that, combined with the AN/SPY-1D radar, can track and engage aircraft, cruise missiles, and ballistic missiles simultaneously.