General Dynamics Bath Iron Works celebrated the keel laying of the future USS Patrick Gallagher (DDG 127) on March 30. The U.S. Navy named the ship in honor of Marine Corps Corporal Patrick Gallagher, an Irish citizen who earned the Navy Cross fighting in Vietnam and was later killed in action. The ship’s sponsors are Gallagher’s sisters Teresa Keegan, Rosemarie Gallagher and Pauline Gallagher. The sponsors authenticated the keel by striking welding arcs onto a steel plate that will be incorporated into the ship. They were assisted by Edward Hayes, a senior welder with 33 years’ experience at BIW who is helping build DDG 127. The laying of the keel and its authentication signifies the start of hull integration and is the precursor to final integration, launch and sea trials.
Chris Waaler, vice president of programs and planning for Bath Iron Works, hosted the ceremony and welcomed the audience, which included retired Gen. Walter E. Boomer, former assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, retired Brigadier Gen. Michael I. Neil, a Navy Cross recipient and members of Gallagher’s unit in Vietnam. “More than 1,000 men and women have worked on this ship since we first cut steel,” Waaler said. “We will ensure this ship will be ready to nobly serve our nation, as Corporal Gallagher did for the Marine Corps in Vietnam.”
Unlike the previous two Arleigh Burke-class ships USS Jack H. Lucas (DDG-125) and USS Louis H. Wilson Jr. (DDG-126) which were inserted into the previous multi-year contract and are planned to be built in the Flight III configuration, Patrick Gallagher was separately added to Navy shipbuilding plans by Congress and will be built in the Flight IIA configuration. Bath Iron Works was awarded the contract for Patrick Gallagher on 28 September 2017 and construction started on 9 November 2018. On 30 March 2022, Her keel was laid down at Bath Iron Works.
Bath Iron Works currently has under construction the future Arleigh Burke-class destroyers Carl M. Levin (DDG 120), John Basilone (DDG 122), Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG 124) and Patrick Gallagher (DDG 127) as well as the Flight III configuration destroyers Louis H. Wilson Jr. (DDG 126), William Charette (DDG 130) and Quentin Walsh (DDG 132). BIW was also recently awarded a contract for the construction of four DDG 51 Flight III ships as part of the Navy’s FY18-22 multiyear procurement. Part of General Dynamics Marine Systems, Bath Iron Works is a full service shipyard specializing in the design, building and support of complex surface combatants for the U.S. Navy. BIW’s rich history reflects a continuous pattern of innovation, new technology and process improvements.