The U.S. Navy commissioned its newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS John Finn (DDG 113), in a ceremony at Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor on July 15.
The destroyer is named after Chief Aviation Ordnanceman John Finn, who was World War II’s first Medal of Honor recipient.
Adm. Chester Nimitz said Finn displayed, “magnificent courage in the face of certain death” during the attack on Pearl Harbor and other Oahu military targets in 1941. Finn manned a .50-caliber machine gun while under heavy enemy machine gun fire. Although wounded, he continued to fight until ordered to vacate his post to seek medical attention. Following first aid treatment, he returned to action and led the charge to rearm aircraft returning from missions.
John Finn is the 63rd Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and was delivered to the Navy from shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries on the 75th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 2016.
“I can’t think of a more fitting place to commission this ship than right here at Pearl Harbor, where we can honor the legacy of John Finn and all Americans from the ‘Greatest Generation’ and reflect on the blessings and costs of liberty,” remarked Adm. Harry Harris, Jr., commander, U.S. Pacific Command. “Thankfully, America has always been blessed to have strong women and men who find the will, and summon the courage, to endure against overwhelming odds, patriots like John Finn, who answered the call to defend our nation in her darkest hour.”
Recognizing the ship’s motto to “stand fast and fight,” Harris praised the ship’s firepower and capabilities as a testament to its namesake’s readiness in battle and determination in the face of danger. The Navy’s newest ship and her crew is ready to deliver – just like Chief Finn did as he manned a machine gun while wounded and under intense enemy fire.
The ship was officially placed in commission by Adm. Harris. Its commanding officer, Cmdr. Micheal Wagner, a native of Minnesota, leads the crew of 300 officers and enlisted personnel and praised his crew as worthy of the standard set forth by the ship’s namesake.