Keel laid for USS Frank E. Petersen guided-missile destroyer

PASCAGOULA, Miss. The keel of the future guided-missile destroyer USS Frank E. Petersen, Jr. (DDG 121) was ceremoniously laid on February 21 at Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard. Although official construction of DDG 121 started in April 2016, the keel-laying symbolically recognizes the ceremonial beginning of the ship.

Frank E. Petersen, Jr. was the first African-American aviator and the first African-American Marine Corps general. Upon his retirement in 1988 after 38 years of service, he was, by date of designation, the senior ranking aviator in the Marine Corps and the United States Navy.

DDG 121 will be built in the Flight IIA configuration with the Aegis Baseline 9 Combat System, which is designed for quick reaction time, high firepower, and increased electronic countermeasures capability for anti-air warfare. The will be built at 509 feet long, have a beam length of 59 feet, and be able to operate at speeds in excess of 30 knots.

Photo of Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen courtesy Washington Post/Getty Images.

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