Navy secretary joined by Medal of Honor recipient Harvey Barnum Jr. at keel-laying ceremony in Maine
By ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: April 6, 2021
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Harker attended a ceremony with a Medal of Honor recipient at a private shipbuilder on Tuesday before visiting a public shipyard that overhauls and maintains submarines.
Harvey Barnum Jr., the namesake of the future Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Harvey Barnum Jr., joined in the keel-laying ceremony at Bath Iron Works.
Barnham, who was honored for his bravery in Vietnam, and his wife participated in the ceremony marking the start of construction and harkens to the days of sailing vessels when construction began with a keel upon which the ship is built.
Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine joined in the events at the shipbuilder that included a tour of a fabrication center and a training center for new employees.
Afterward, the group traveled to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery to tour several facilities, get updates on modernization projects and witness maintenance being conducted on the USS Texas.
Collins praised workers at both facilities who toiled away throughout the pandemic because the military work was deemed essential.
"Despite the challenges of the past year, the hardworking employees ... continued to answer the nation's call to keep our Navy strong and ensure our brave sailors and submariners are able to defend our nation and return home safely," she said.