The Navy christened its newest guided-missile destroyer, Pre-commissioning Unit Michael Murphy (DDG 112), during a morning ceremony at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine May 7.
The new destroyer honors Medal of Honor recipient Lt. (SEAL) Michael P. Murphy and was christened on what would have been his 35th birthday.
“It is my sincere belief that this ship will build on the momentum gained by our Special Operations Forces in the fight against extremism and sail the seas in a world made more peaceful by sustained American vigilance, power and dignity,” said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead. “This ship will carry Michael’s legacy and values to Sailors several decades from now and to a new generation of Americans. For that I am proud to wear this uniform.”
Maureen Murphy, sponsor of the ship named for her late son, had the honor of breaking a bottle of champagne across the ship's bow, formally christening the ship in accordance with Navy tradition.
“I am so proud and it is truly an honor,” said Murphy. “For people to come out and remember Mike and to celebrate this ship; it means a lot and it means that they still remember the sacrifice he made for this country.”
On June 28, 2005, Murphy was leading a four-man team tasked with finding a key Taliban leader in the mountainous terrain near Asadabad, Afghanistan, when they came under fire from a much larger enemy force with superior tactical position. Mortally wounded while exposing himself to enemy fire, Murphy knowingly left his position of cover to get a clear signal in order to communicate with his headquarters. While being shot at repeatedly, Murphy calmly provided his unit’s location and requested immediate support for his element. He returned to his cover position to continue the fight until finally succumbing to his wounds.
Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command Adm. Eric T. Olson, Deputy Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command Rear Adm. Garry Bonelli and family members of the Navy SEALs who lost their lives alongside Murphy were also in attendance.
Designated DDG 112, Michael Murphy, the 62nd Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. Michael Murphy will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and will contain a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare in keeping with CNO's "A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower."
Cmdr. Thomas E. Shultz, a native of El Cajon, Calif., is the prospective commanding officer of the ship and will lead the crew of 279 officers and enlisted personnel. The 9,200-ton Michael Murphy is being built by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works. The ship is 509 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet, and a navigational draft of 31 feet. Four gas turbine engines will power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.