BATH, Maine - More than 50 Sailors, civilians and family members gathered June 18 at the General Dynamics-Bath Iron Works shipyard to authenticate the keel of a U.S. Navy destroyer named for a Navy SEAL killed during Operation Enduring Freedom.
The keel authentication ceremony was designed to mark the beginning of construction of the future USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), a destroyer named in honor of Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during Operation Red Wings in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005.
"There are no words," said Maureen Murphy, mother of Murphy. "I still can't get it through my head that a U.S. Navy ship is going to be named after my son. He would be honored. I hope to have a good rapport with the crew of the Michael Murphy. On the ship, it's going to be like one big family, and I would like to have a good relationship with the crew."
Ceremony guests of honor included Murphy's mother; father, Dan; and brother, John, who confirmed the destroyer's keel, the large beam around which the hull of a ship is constructed, was laid "straight and true." Ceremony attendees also included nearly 20 Navy SEALS.
The Murphy family signed a steel plate during the ceremony, which will later be affixed to the hull of the ship.
"We love everyone involved with the Michael Murphy," said Dan Murphy, father of Lt. Michael Murphy. "They have no idea how much they have touched us."
Cmdr. David Price, program manager, supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair said the vessel will serve as a testament to Murphy's character.
"This ship will transform from just plates of steel, miles of piping and cables and electronics, to a ship and crew, operating as one, imbued with the spirit of her namesake, and her sponsor," said Price.
"As the 62nd ship of the class, I believe DDG 112 will be the finest destroyer yet delivered," said Capt. Pete Lyle, DDG 51 class program manager within the Navy's Program Executive Office. "There couldn't be a more fitting tribute to Lt. Murphy's sacrifice."
DDG 51 class ships are multi-mission combatants designed to operate in multi-threat air, surface and subsurface threat environments. These destroyers are equipped with the Navy's Aegis Combat System, the world's foremost integrated naval weapon system, and provide outstanding combat capability and survivability characteristics while minimizing procurement and lifetime support costs due to the program's maturity.
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