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DDG 115 Rafael Peralta

The Navy's newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115) was commissioned in a ceremony at Naval Air Station North Island, 29 July 2017.

DDG 115 was christened Oct. 31 and launched 01 November 2015. Upon delivery in late-2016, Rafael Peralta will be the 65th Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) class destroyer to join the fleet. - The Navy announced 30 March 2016 the future guided-missile destroyers USS John Finn (DDG 113) and USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115) are scheduled to be homeported at Naval Base San Diego following their respective commissionings. Rafael Peralta is expected to arrive in San Diego in fall of 2016 and John Finn will follow in early 2017.

The future USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115) achieved "light off" of its Aegis Combat System at the Bath Iron Works (BIW) shipyard, 17 December 2015. The Aegis system light off marks the beginning of combat system testing for the ship. These comprehensive tests will ensure all combat system equipment is operational and communicative. Rafael Peralta is equipped with the Aegis Baseline 9 Combat System, which includes an Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability, incorporating Ballistic Missile Defense 5.0 Capability Upgrade (BMD 5.0CU) and Naval Integrated Fire Control-Counter Air (NIFC-CA).

"I am very proud of all our industry and government team that got us to this day. I look forward to a successful test program and taking DDG 115 to sea in 2016," said Capt. Mark Vandroff, DDG 51 class program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "This is the first BIW DDG 51 restart destroyer to achieve Aegis light off, and we're excited to provide the fleet with another DDG 51 equipped with enhanced IAMD warfighting capabilities."

The Aegis Baseline 9 IAMD destroyers have increased computing power, along with radar upgrades that improve detection and reaction capabilities against modern air warfare and BMD threats. When operational, these multi-mission surface combatants will serve as an integral player in global maritime security, engaging in air, undersea, surface, strike and ballistic missile defense, as well as increased capabilities in anti-submarine warfare, command and control, and anti-surface warfare.

Sergeant Rafael Peralta (April 7 1979 November 15 2004) was a United States Marine killed in combat during Second Battle of Fallujah in the city of Fallujah, Iraq. SGT Rafael Peralta was born on April 7, 1979 in Mexico City, Mexico. The son of Rafael and Rosa Peralta, he was the oldest of four children. Immigrating to the United States with his family as a teenager, he graduated from Morse High School in San Diego, California in1997. He joined the United States Marine Corps in 2000, immediately after qualifying for a green card. He became an American citizen while serving in the Corps.

Peralta served the United States with enthusiasm and patriotism. Documentary accounts of his life record his efforts to volunteer for combat, despite becoming the primary breadwinner and male influence in his family upon the death of his father. Reportedly, the bedroom walls in his parents home displayed only three items: a copy of the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights and his boot camp graduation certificate. On November 15, 2004, SGT Peralta, then 25, deployed to Iraq as a scout team leader assigned to the Lava Dogs of Company A, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. During the second battle of Fallujah, his team was ordered to clear houses as part of Operation Phantom Fury. Peralta was not personally assigned to enter the buildings, but chose to do so anyway.

SGT Peralta led his team through a series of house clearings before charging into the fourth house. He found two rooms empty on the ground floor. Peralta opened a third door and was hit multiple times with AK-47 fire, leaving him severely wounded. Two Marines behind him then surged into the room to return fire. The insurgents responded by throwing a grenade at the Marines. The two Marines with SGT Peralta tried to get out of the room but could not. Still conscious on the floor, reports indicate that he was able to smother the grenade under his body, absorbing the majority of the lethal blast and shrapnel, killing him instantly, but saving the lives of his fellow Marines.

SGT Peralta is buried in Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, California. In September of 2008, SGT Peralta was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the second highest award for valor in the Marine Corps, for the actions which cost his life and saved his fellow Marines.




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