DDG 116 Thomas Hudner
On 12 June 2018, Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer announced the newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, Pre-Commissioning Unit Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), will be commissioned during a ceremony Saturday, 01 December 2018, in Boston.
The keel of the future USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) was authenticated during a ceremony at the Bath Iron Works (BIW) shipyard 16 November 2016. The ship's keel was authenticated by Ms. Barbara Miller, wife of the former superintendent of the Naval Academy, Vice Adm. Michael Miller. The authenticator etched her initials into the keel plate to symbolically recognize the joining of modular components and the ceremonial beginning of the ship.
"We are very honored to have the namesake of DDG 116, Capt. Hudner and his family, here to witness this milestone ceremony," said Capt. Mark Vandroff, DDG 51 class program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships. "These ships serve as a lasting reminder of the courage, leadership and intellectual contribution of the very best that the Navy-Marine Corps team has had to offer."
Medal of Honor recipient, Thomas Hudner, crash landed his plane in 1950 in an attempt to save the life of his wingman who was shot down by Chinese ground troops at the battle of Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War.
On 4 December 1950, Lieutenant (j.g.) Hudner launched from the USS Leyte, flying his Corsair on the wing of Ensign Jesse L. Brown for a mission near the Chosin Reservoir in Korea. Brown, the Navy’s first black aviator, was hit by enemy fire and crashed behind enemy lines in the snow-covered mountains. Brown was trapped in the burning wreckage. Despite nearby enemy troops, Hudner executed a wheels-up landing and quickly began to pile snow on Brown’s aircraft to smother the flames. Although assisted by a Marine helicopter pilot, he could not save his fellow pilot. President Truman awarded Thomas Hudner the Congressional Medal of Honor on 13 April 1951 for his courageous actions.
Thomas J. Hudner, Jr., was a naval aviator in the Korean War and recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for his valiant efforts to rescue his flight lead from a burning aircraft. Born in Fall River, Massachusetts, he attended Phillips Academy in Andover, and then the US Naval Academy. After graduation in 1946, his first duty was on the USS Helena off the China coast and then with the CINCPAC staff for a year in Pearl Harbor. Hudner was not satisfied with shore duty, so in April 1948 he entered Naval flight training at NAS Pensacola, Florida. Advanced flight training in the F4U-4 Corsair followed at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, where he received his "Wings of Gold" in 1949. His first flight assignment was flying the F4U-4 Corsair with Fighter Squadron (VF) 32 from the carrier USS Leyte. Lieutenant (j.g.) Hudner flew 27 combat missions from the Leyte during 4 months of brutal Korean winter in late 1950 and early 1951. Following his combat tour, he returned stateside as an instrument flight instructor at NAS Corpus Christi. After a staff tour with Commander Carrier Division 3 in the Pacific, he completed Jet Transition and moved to NAS Atlantic City, New Jersey, to fly numerous jet aircraft for a tour with Air Development Squadron (VX) 3.
Beginning in October 1957, Hudner served 2 years on exchange with the USAF. Assigned to the 60th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Otis AFB, Massachusetts, he flew the F-94 Starfire and F-101 Voodoo. After serving as Aide to the Chief of the Bureau of Naval Weapons, he attended the Air War College at Maxwell AFB, Alabama, in 1962. In July 1963, Commander Hudner returned to flying duty, in the F-8E Crusader, as the Executive Officer of Fighter Squadron (VF) 53 attached to the USS Ticonderoga. He then served as Leadership Training Officer for the COMNAVAIRPAC staff before transferring to NAS Chase Field, Texas, as the Commanding Officer of Training Squadron (VT) 24. In March 1966, he sailed on the carrier USS Kitty Hawk as Navigator and then as Executive Officer. Assigned to the Pentagon in 1968, he served as J-3 Action Officer for Southeast Asia Air Operations and finally as the Technical Training Officer on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations. Captain Hudner retired from the Navy in 1973.
DDG 116 was the second of two Arleigh Burke class destroyers under construction at BIW. DDG 115, the future USS Rafael Peralta, was launched at BIW Nov. 1. As a Flight IIA ship, Thomas Hudner will be equipped with the Navy's Aegis Combat System, the world's foremost integrated naval weapon system. This system delivers quick reaction time, high firepower and increased electronic countermeasures capability for Anti-Air Warfare. Arleigh Burke ships enable power projection, forward presence, and escort operations at sea in support of Low Intensity Conflict/Coastal and Littoral Offshore Warfare as well as open ocean conflict.
DDG 116 started fabrication Feb. 15, 2013, and will join the fleet in 2017 where she will serve as an integral player in global maritime security, engaging in air, undersea, surface, strike and ballistic missile defense. As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships and special warfare craft.
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