Latest Navy destroyer christened at Bath Iron Works

1 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A Naval Ship Christening In The Name Of A Fallen War Hero.

BATH, Maine — The ultimate sacrifice of a Mexican immigrant who came to the United States as a boy and later joined the Marines was recognized Saturday morning, when more than 3,000 people turned out for the christening of the Navy’s newest destroyer. Saturday, Rosa Peralta will smash a bottle of champagne across the bow of USS Rafael Peralta, a guided-missile destroyer nearly two football fields long. By the time Peralta was killed in action “clearing houses” during the Second Battle of Fallujah in Iraq four years later, he was a rising 25-year-old Marine Corps sergeant – and a naturalized U.S. citizen who kept a copy of the U.S.

Navy has named ships after cities – the USS San Diego and Chicago, states, the Alabama and the Texas, presidents, the Lincoln, the Roosevelt, the Reagan, and battles, the Iwo Jima, the Antietam. Peralta, who pulled a grenade against his body to protect his fellow Marines during close combat with insurgents in Fallujah, Iraq, on Nov. 15, 2004, is believed to be the first serviceman born in Mexico to have a naval warship named in his honor. “He believed more about the goodness of America than most Americans, to the point of fighting and sacrificing everything for what America stands for,” Gen. Murphy, a Long Island boy, won the Medal of Honor — the first for the Navy since Vietnam — after exposing himself to fatal gunfire while radioing for help for his team in Afghanistan in 2005. (The book and film “Lone Survivor” tell the tale.) Naming ships after these men is a fit honor for their bravery and sacrifice, a sign to any who follow in their footsteps of how much America appreciates such service.

The defense secretary at the time ultimately rejected that honor because of questions over whether the mortally wounded Marine was conscious at the time. Peralta’s family, which has no doubt about his valor, said the naming of the 510-foot guided-missile destroyer in the fallen Marine’s honor has eased some of the bitterness. In that letter, his brother said how proud he was to be a U.S. citizen and a Marine. “Navy ships sail the globe and, where necessary, sail into battle. It is fitting, therefore, that our ships bear the names of individuals who have displayed uncommon valor, notable commitment, unwavering sacrifice and extraordinary service in support of these missions,” Collins said. A year later, Peralta was serving with his unit in the area around Fallujah – a hotbed of insurgent activity – when he wrote a letter to his brother, Ricardo, who was then only 14.

As recounted Saturday by Ricardo – himself a veteran today – Rafael Peralta told his brother “to be proud of me” and that he was about to make history. He said ships such as those built at Bath Iron Works help make that possible. “The best way to preserve peace is by deterring war through unassailable strength,” King said. “The men and women who built this ship and the men and women who will man it are doing the work of civilization, and that is the ultimate honor and recognition to Rafael Peralta — that his name will be born on a mighty instrument of peace for our country and the world.” Fred Harris, president of General Dynamics, said BIW is working to stay competitive in an industry that is seeing the Navy order fewer ships and expecting them at more affordable prices. However, the Pentagon turned down the requests after some members of Peralta’s unit raised questions about whether he purposely shielded others from the grenade.

While other members of the unit have sworn to its truth, the Pentagon also received conflicting opinions from medical professionals who reviewed the case. PERALTA: The day my brother died, he volunteered to go out there with another squad, and they got to a room where ultimately he was shot and wounded, and he was just laying in between the insurgents and the Marines. Sean Stackley, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, said the newest destroyer was 9,200 tons of American sea power.

BIW stated that 3,500 tons of steel, 255 miles of electrical cable, 33 miles of pipes, 200 tons of welding rod, 3,000 light fixtures and 70,000 gallons of paint went into building the Peralta.

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