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Arleigh-Burke Class Destroyer Officially Named the (DD-122) USS Basilone

By Lance Cpl. Emmanuel Necoechea | Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | August 16, 2016

Camp Pendleton hosted a ship naming ceremony for a new Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer at the 1st Marine Division Headquarters, Aug. 16.

The Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, officially named the (DD-122) USS Basilone, in honor of Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone.

“John Basilone was one of those Marines that who Admiral Nimits referred to as ‘uncommon valor was a common virtue,’” said Mabus. “These Arleigh Burke Class Destroyers are amazing ships that can simultaneously execute undersea warfare and surface warfare, anti-air warfare and missile defense. In other words, like Marines, they are capable of fighting our nation’s battles on air, land and sea.”

Basilone was the only enlisted Marine to earn both the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross during World War II.

“Today we honor more Navy and Marine Corps heroes and continue the legacy of one of our storied naval warships,” said Mabus. “Anybody stationed here on Camp Pendleton knows Basilone Rd., Basilone Memorial Highway and Basilone drop zone.”

Gunnery Sgt. Basilone earned the Medal of Honor for his acts of bravery on Guadalcanal during World War II, while holding the line with a machine gun and repairing other weapon systems against Japanese assault.

After Basilone returned from Guadalcanal, he requested to go back to the operating forces. At Iwo Jima he aided a Marine tank trapped in an enemy mine field under intense fire, guiding the heavy vehicle to safety. Basilone was later killed by Japanese mortar fire.

For his actions on Iwo Jima, he was awared the Navy Cross.

“Today is an opportunity to pause for a minute if you’re a Marine and reflect on Gunnery Sgt. Basilone and all he meant to the Marine Corps,” said Lt. Gen. Lewis A. Craparotta, the Commanding General of 1st Marine Expeditionary Force. “The type of Marine he was. The type of man he was. The type of leader he was. Finally, his fortitude in battle and what he meant to his men.”

The USS Basilone is scheduled to be commissioned in 2022 and this is the second destroyer named after Basilone. The first USS Basilone was decommissioned in 1977.