This week, the Navy commissioned the USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116) in Boston as it readies to head to the First Coast with Mayport prepared to be its homeport.
The Thomas Hunder is commanded by Cmdr. Nathan Scherry and is the 66th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and the 36th DDG 51 class destroyer built by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW).
“Arleigh Burke (DDG 51 class) class destroyers are highly-capable, multi-mission ships that conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence to national security. These DDGs provide a wide range of warfighting capabilities in multi-threat air, surface, and subsurface environments. The ship's Integrated Air and Missile Defense radar will provide increased computing power and radar upgrades that improve detection and reaction capabilities against modern air warfare threats, as well as ballistic missile defense. The Aegis Combat System will enable the ship to link radars with other ships and aircraft to provide a composite picture of the battle space, and effectively increase the theater space. New ships in this class, such as Thomas Hudner, have anti-ballistic missile capabilities as well. The DDG’s all-steel construction provides a survivable platform,” the Navy noted about the new destroyer.
The Arleigh Burke class usually has a crew of 276 sailors.
The new destroyer was named after Capt. Thomas J. Hudner, Jr. who won the Medal of Honor at the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir in 1950, crashing his plane on purpose to save his wingman Ensign Jesse Brown, African American aircraft carrier qualified naval aviator. Hudner passed away last year.
Thomas Hudner III spoke about his father as the ship was commissioned.
“While many would say that my father’s actions were an extraordinary act, my father never thought of himself or that action as extraordinary,” said Hudner. “To the contrary, when he was asked through the years why he did what he did, he responded simply that it was the right thing to do and if he hadn’t acted, someone else would have. Throughout military history there have been countless acts of unselfish heroism, in fact the history of the United States has been built upon these acts many of which went unseen and without recognition. However, it was Capt. Hudner’s unselfish act in the service of his country, the United States Navy, and his friend and squadron mate that lives in the spirit of this ship.”
“Simply put, life was never about Tom Hudner,” said Gov. Charlie Baker, R-Mass. “He was the consummate team player. The only way a person would know anything about what took place on that mountain top during the Korean War would have been to hear from someone else or to have read about it because he never talked about that day. It is my fervent hope that this ship is imbued with the humility, selflessness, patriotism, the commitment to one another, the kindness and decency that transcends our differences that made Tom so special.”
“A special welcome to the USS Thomas Hudner, her crew and their families who will soon call Naval Station Mayport home. This commissioning is an important step toward increasing the capacity of our fleet at Mayport. We look forward to continuing Florida’s strong relationship and long history of support for our Navy,” said U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.