The future USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112) departed General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (BIW) shipyard Sept. 5 for New York City, where she will join the fleet in a commissioning ceremony, Oct. 6.
This milestone marks the completion of the initial 62-ship procurement for the DDG 51 Arleigh Burke-class destroyer program, and the 34th DDG 51 class ship built at BIW, until the class-restart ships begin delivering in fiscal year 2016.
"This sail-away is a poignant milestone for both this ship and the program," said Capt. Mark Vandroff, DDG 51 class program manager for the Navy's Program Executive Office, Ships (PEO Ships). "This has been, and continues to be, a tremendously successful shipbuilding program. I have every confidence that PCU Michael Murphy, as with the previous 61 Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, will 'lead the fight' and make our world a safer, better place."
The new destroyer honors the late Lt. Michael P. Murphy, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions as leader of a Navy SEAL team in Afghanistan. Murphy was the first person to be awarded the medal for actions in Afghanistan, and the first member of the U.S. Navy to receive the award since the Vietnam War. Maureen Murphy, Lt. Murphy's mother, will serve as the ship's sponsor.
"It's truly an honor for all of us that are part of this initial crew to not only bring this great warship into the Fleet, but to also do our part in upholding the legacy of Lt. Murphy and his 18 additional Operation Red Wings teammates that gave the ultimate sacrifice," said Cmdr. Tom Shultz, commanding officer of PCU Michael Murphy (DDG 112).
Shultz and many of the 280-person crew have trained in Bath for close to a year to safely sail the ship away and begin their transit to the ship's future homeport of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, also the location of Lt. Murphy's former command, SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1.
The DDG 51 class ship is a multi-mission, guided-missile destroyer designed to operate in multi-threat air, surface and sub-surface threat environments. The class of ship provides combat capability and survivability characteristics, while minimizing procurement and lifetime support costs due to the program's maturity. The DDG 51 program continues to reinforce affordability and efficiency in its shipbuilding program with a commitment to deliver ships at the highest possible quality and to manage a seamless transition to the Fleet.
As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships, an affiliated program executive office of the Naval Sea Systems Command, is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all major surface combatants, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft. The majority of shipbuilding programs currently managed by PEO Ships are benefiting from serial production efficiencies, which are critical to delivering ships on cost and schedule.