A Huntington Ingalls Industries division has conducted a ceremony to authenticate the keel of a future U.S. Navy guided missile destroyer currently designated DDG 123.
The authentication ceremony for the planned Arleigh Burke-class USS Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee hosted by Ingalls Shipbuilding featured ship sponsors Louisa Dixon, Virginia Munford and Pickett Wilson, colleagues of former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, the company said Tuesday.
The sponsors’ initials were welded on a plate that was affixed onto the ship, HII added.
Brian Cuccias, president of Ingalls Shipbuilding, noted the keel authentication is a key milestone in a ship’s construction.
The shipbuilder has produced 29 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers now in active service with the Navy and is currently building four more, namely DDG 114 (Ralph Johnson), DDG 117 (Paul Ignatius), DDG 119 (Delbert D. Black) and DDG 121 (Frank E. Petersen Jr).
The future USS Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee is named after the first Navy Cross-awarded woman who served with the Navy Nurse Corps, where she became second superintendent in 1911.