WASHINGTON — The Navy christened the newest guided-missile destroyer, the future USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117), Saturday, April 8 during a ceremony at Huntington Ingalls Industries Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss.
The USS Paul Ignatius is named in honor of Paul Ignatius, who served as assistant secretary of defense for installations and logistics and later as secretary of the navy between 1967 and 1969, both under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Ignatius had previously served as a commissioned lieutenant in the Navy during World War II. The future USS Paul Ignatius will be the first ship to bear his name.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson served as the principal speaker during the ceremony. During the event, Nancy Ignatius, wife of Secretary Ignatius, served as the ship’s sponsor and broke a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow to formally christen the ship-a time-honored Navy tradition.
“When the future USS Paul Ignatius joins the fleet, it will serve for decades as a reminder of Secretary Ignatius’s service to our nation as both a naval officer and as the civilian leader of our Navy and Marine Corps,” said Sean Stackley, acting secretary of the navy. “This ceremony honored not only the service of this ship’s distinguished namesake but also the service of our nation’s shipbuilders, who, for centuries, have helped make ours the greatest Navy in the world.”
Paul Ignatius will be the 67th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the fifth of 14 ships currently under contract for the DDG 51 program. The DDG 51 class provides advanced combat capability and survivability characteristics while minimizing procurement and lifetime support costs due to the program’s maturity. DDG 51 destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. Destroyers can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups and underway replenishment groups. DDG 113 and follow-on DDGs are being built with integrated air and missile defense (IAMD) capability.
The 9,200-ton ship is 509 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.