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Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG 121) navigates in the Gulf of Mexico during bravo trials.
Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG 121) navigates in the Gulf of Mexico during bravo trials. (U.S. Navy)

PASCAGOULA, Miss. (Tribune News Service) — For the 33rd time, Ingalls Shipbuilding has signed over ownership of a destroyer to the U.S. Navy.

In a formal ceremony Tuesday, Ingalls signed the delivery papers which turned over custody of the guided missile destroyer Frank E. Petersen Jr. (DDG 121) to the Navy.

“I am again very proud of our DDG team today,” Ingalls President Kari Wilkinson said. “Not only have they completed another major program milestone, but they have done so in the face of a pandemic.

“This team, and all of our shipbuilders across our entire portfolio, are what shipbuilding is all about.”

Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen, Jr. (ret.) the first African-American Marine Corps aviator and the first African-American Marine Corps general served during the Korean War in 1953 and Vietnam in 1968. During his career, he flew more than 350 combat missions and more than 4,000 hours in various military aircraft.
Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen, Jr. (ret.) the first African-American Marine Corps aviator and the first African-American Marine Corps general served during the Korean War in 1953 and Vietnam in 1968. During his career, he flew more than 350 combat missions and more than 4,000 hours in various military aircraft. (U.S. Marine Corps)

DDG 121 is the 71st in the class of Arleigh Burke destroyers. The ship is named in honor of Frank Emmanuel Petersen Jr., who was the Marine Corps’ first African-American aviator and the service’s first African-American general. After entering the Naval Aviation Cadet Program in 1950, Petersen would go on to fly more than 350 combat missions throughout the Korean and Vietnam wars.

Petersen’s widow, Alicia Petersen and D’Arcy Neller, wife of former U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller, are the ship’s co-sponsors.

Fabrication for DDG 121 began in April 2016. The ship was launched in July of 2018 and christened at the Pascagoula shipyard on Oct. 6, 2018. Ingalls has four more destroyers currently under construction, including Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123), Jack H. Lucas (DDG 125), Ted Stevens (DDG 128) and Jeremiah Denton (DDG 12).

According to Huntington Ingalls Industries, parent company of Ingalls Shipbuilding, Arleigh Burke-class destroyers “are highly capable, multi-mission ships and can conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, all in support of the United States military strategy.

“Guided missile destroyers are capable of simultaneously fighting air, surface and subsurface battles. The ship contains myriad offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime defense needs well into the 21st century.”

©2021 Advance Local Media LLC.

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Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


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