A naming ceremony was held at Naval Base San Diego for the Arleigh-Burke class guided- missile destroyers USS John Finn (DDG 113), USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114) and USS Rafael Peralta (DDG 115) Sept. 20.
Friends and family attended the ceremony and Lt. Gen. John A Toolan Jr., Marine Expeditionary Force commanding general, gave the keynote address.
Toolan expressed that the three men for which the ships are named, were like anchors within their units and set a high standard for heroism within the services.
“These three men are examples of the service, sacrifice, dedication and the heroism it took to be that anchor from World War II to Vietnam to Iraq,” said Toolan. “We’re here today to name these destroyers in their honor. These destroyers will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peace time presence and crisis management, to sea control and power projection.”
Georgeann McRaven, sponsor of the USS Ralph Johnson, said she’s looking forward to working with and supporting the ship and it’s crew as it transforms from raw metal to a war-fighting vessel.
“I will become part of the ship. I’ll be kind of like a den mother to the crew,” said McRaven. “It will be wonderful when the ship has a crew and will be able to go out to see for the first time. I look forward to it.”
Lt. John Finn was the first Medal of Honor recipient of World War II. He was honored for defending his ship from Japanese aircraft for over two hours during the attack on Pearl Harbor despite being shot twice and having numerous shrapnel wounds. He died at the age of 100 in 2010.
Pfc. Ralph Johnson was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in March 1968 after jumping on a hand grenade that was thrown into his fighting hole to save the life of a fellow Marine and to prevent the enemy from penetrating his patrol perimeter.
Sgt. Rafael Peralta was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross after taking critical gunshot wounds and later grabbing live grenade and covering it with his body to save his fellow Marines during a firefight in Fallujah, Iraq, November 2004.