The Navy on Saturday christened the second destroyer to be named after Marine Corps World War II hero John Basilone.
Ryan Manion, president of the Travis Manion Foundation that assists veterans and families, broke a bottle of sparkling wine across the ship’s bow during the time-honored ceremony at Bath Iron works in Maine.
The future USS John Basilone is the 72nd guided-missile destroyer in the Arleigh Burke class.
The ship’s namesake, Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone, received the Medal of Honor for heroism in the Battle of Guadalcanal, where in October 1942 he led his heavy machine gun sections in defense of a critical position and inflicted heavy casualties on the enemy.
Basilone later returned to action at the Battle of Iwo Jima in February of 1944, when he single-handedly destroyed an enemy blockhouse and led a Marine tank under fire safely through a minefield. He was killed in action later that day and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.
During his time in the Marines, Basilone was stationed at Camp Pendleton and married his wife at St. Mary Star of the Sea in Oceanside.
The new warship is armed with 96 missiles in vertical launch tubes, a 5-inch main gun, a variety of smaller guns, torpedoes and two helicopters. It is 513 feet long and displaces 9,200 tons.
“The future USS John Basilone will serve as a constant reminder of the immense impact that actions taken by any one Sailor or Marine can truly have,” said Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro. “Gunnery Sgt. Basilone is a national hero and this ship and crew will honor his legacy for decades to come.”
The first USS Basilone was a Gearing-class destroyer in service from 1945 to 1977.