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Senator Collins Attends Christening of the Future USS John Basilone at BIW

The ship is the 39th guided-missile destroyer to be constructed at BIW

Bath, ME – Today, U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, participated in the christening ceremony for the future USS John Basilone (DDG-122) at Bath Iron Works.


“During my years serving in the United States Senate, I have had the privilege to participate in many christenings here at Bath Iron Works, each one very special.  Today, we christen DDG-122 with the name of a patriot who exemplified the highest ideals of America, Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone, United States Marine Corps,” said Senator Collins. “We celebrate one of the most capable and proven warships in the world, built in a state-of-the-art facility by the industry’s most skilled hands, manned by officers and crew with the highest level of training and expertise, all working as a team to meet the security challenges of the 21st Century.  At the same time, we pay tribute to the timeless virtues enshrined in this ship’s motto: Honor, Loyalty, Sacrifice.”


“Wherever the USS John Basilone sails, the spirit of this valiant Marine will go with her,” Senator Collins continued.  “We wish her fair winds and following seas.  May God always speed her safely home.”


The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer will be named in honor of Gunnery Sergeant John Basilone, United States Marine Corps.  Following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, he was deployed and took part in the allied attack on Guadalcanal.  For days, Sergeant Basilone and the dozen Marines he led repelled the assault, first with machine guns, then with pistols, and finally with their bare hands.  His bravery and leadership helped to secure America’s first land victory in the Pacific.  He earned a Medal of Honor for his extraordinary heroism and leadership. 


Sergeant Basilone was brought back stateside to support the war effort selling war bonds.  Although his tour was a huge success, raising far above his goal, he felt his place was with his fellow Marines on the battlefield.  He convinced his commanders to send him back to the frontlines, where he joined his fellow Marines in storming the beach at Iwo Jima.  Sadly, a mortar round brought his life to an end. He earned the Navy Cross posthumously for his courage and determination during the battle. 


This is the second ship to be named after Sergeant Basilone.  The USS BASILONE (DD/DDE-824) Gearing-class destroyer was launched in 1945 and served 28 years, earning three battle stars for service in the Vietnam War.