Warship honoring Marine christened at Maine shipyard

1 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A new class of ships honors American heroes of Afghanistan & Iraq.

The USS Peralta is believed to be the first warship named for someone who was born in Mexico. 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.

Marine serving in Iraq when he was killed in action during the Second Battle of Fallujah in 2004 as he shielded several other marines from a grenade. “What I think about the most is these terms that my brother used on his final letter that wrote me, where he says, ‘Be proud of me, bro, I’m going to make history,'” he says. “I still feel like the ship holds that piece of history that he’s referring to. 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. 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.

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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