Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced yesterday the next Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer (DDG) will be named the USS Thomas Hudner.
Thomas J. Hudner Jr., a naval aviator who retired as a captain, received the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman for displaying uncommon valor during an attack on his wingman, the first African American naval aviator to fly in combat, Ensign Jesse L. Brown. During the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in the Korean War, anti-aircraft fire hit Brown’s aircraft, damaging a fuel line and causing him to crash. After it became clear Brown was seriously injured and unable to free himself Hudner proceeded to purposefully crash his own aircraft to join Brown and provide aid. Hudner injured his own back during his crash landing, but he stayed with Brown until a rescue helicopter arrived. Hudner and the rescue pilot worked in the sub-zero, snow-laden area in an unsuccessful attempt to free Brown from the smoking wreckage.
Hudner is the last living Navy recipient of the Medal of Honor from the Korean War.
After receiving recognition for his heroism, Hudner remained on active duty, completing an additional 22 years of naval service during which his accomplishments include flying 27 combat missions in the Korean War and serving as the executive officer aboard the USS Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War.
“Thomas Hudner exemplifies the core values of honor, courage and commitment the Navy holds dear,” said Mabus. “Naming the Navy’s next DDG for him will ensure his legacy will be known, honored and emulated by future generations of sailors and Marines who serve and all who come in contact with this ship.”
The Arleigh Burke class destroyer will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. It will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and will contain a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare in keeping with the Navy’s ability to execute the Department of Defense’s defense strategy.
Source: US Department of Defence, May 8, 2012