Keel Laid for the Destroyer Frank E. Petersen Jr.
PASCAGOULA, Miss. — The keel of the future USS Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG 121) was ceremoniously laid on Feb. 21 at Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard, Naval Sea Systems Command said in a release of the same date.
Although official construction of DDG 121 began in April, the keel-laying symbolically recognizes the ceremonial beginning of the ship. The keel was said to be “fairly and truly laid” and was authenticated by D’Arcy Neller, the ship’s sponsor, and Donald Brabston, a master Ingalls shipbuilder.
“The keel laying is the symbolic first step in shaping our nation’s newest destroyer,” said Capt. Casey Moton, DDG 51 class program manager, Program Executive Office-Ships. “The ship will be a lasting tribute to Frank E. Petersen Jr., who made incredible contributions to Naval and Marine Corps aviation and DDG 121 will be an extremely capable destroyer for our Sailors.”
Frank E. Petersen, Jr. was the first African-American aviator and the first African-American Marine Corps general. When he retired in 1988 after 38 years of service, he was, by date of designation, the senior-ranking aviator in the Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy.
DDG 121 will be built in the Flight IIA configuration with the Aegis Baseline 9 Combat System which includes Integrated Air and Missile Defense capability. This system delivers quick reaction time, high firepower, and increased electronic countermeasures capability for Anti-Air Warfare.