On Tuesday, April 6, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works celebrated the keel laying of the future USS Harvey C. Barnum, Jr. (DDG 124). The U.S. Navy named the ship in honor of Marine Corps Col. Harvey C. Barnum, Jr., a Medal of Honor recipient who attended Tuesday’s ceremony. Col. Barnum served in the Vietnam War and continued to serve his country afterward, eventually being named Acting Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Manpower and Reserve Affairs). The ship’s sponsor is Martha Hill, Col. Barnum’s wife.
Ed Kenyon, Director of New Construction Programs for Bath Iron Works, hosted the ceremony and welcomed the audience, which included Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Harker, Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King, Rep. Chellie Pingree, Navy personnel and BIW employees. “The keel-laying ceremony is an opportunity to re-affirm our commitment that a Bath-built ship is best built, at all stages of construction.” Kenyon said. “We are proud to be building the Harvey C. Barnum, Jr. We will ensure that Col. Barnum’s ship will be ready to serve our nation, nobly, as he did during his service in Vietnam and subsequent service to our nation.”
Col. Barnum and Ms. Hill authenticated the keel by striking welding arcs onto a steel plate that will be incorporated into the ship. They were assisted by Marty Fish, a Specialist Welder and work leader with 34 years of experience at BIW, currently working on Main Machinery Room 1 of DDG 124. The laying of the keel and its authentication signifies the start of hull integration and the pre-cursor to final integration, launch and sea trials.
DDG 124 is a Flight IIA destroyer equipped with Aegis Baseline 9, which provides improved Integrated Air and Missile Defense capabilities, increased computing power, and radar upgrades that improve detection range and reaction time against modern air warfare and Ballistic Missile Defense threats. BIW is also in production on the future Arleigh Burke-class destroyers Carl M. Levin (DDG 120), John Basilone (DDG 122), Patrick Gallagher (DDG 127), and Flight III ships, Louis H. Wilson, Jr. (DDG 126), and William Charette (DDG 130), as well as the future Zumwalt-class destroyer, Lyndon B. Johnson (DDG 1002).