The Navy will commission its newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, Gravely, during an 11 a.m. EST ceremony Nov. 20 in Wilmington, N.C.
Alma Gravely will serve as sponsor of the ship named for her late husband. The ceremony will be highlighted by a time-honored Navy tradition when she gives the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life!”
Designated DDG 107, the new destroyer honors the late Vice Adm. Samuel L. Gravely Jr. Gravely. Gravely was recalled to active duty in 1949. As part of the Navy’s response to President Harry S. Truman‘s executive order to desegregate the armed services, his initial assignment was as a Navy recruiter, recruiting African Americans in the Washington, D.C., area.
Gravely’s performance and leadership as an African American Naval officer demonstrated to America the value and strength of diversity. Gravely’s accomplishments served as watershed events for today’s Navy. He was the first African American to command a warship, USS Theodore E. Chandler (DD 717); to command a major warship, USS Jouett (DLG/CG-29); to achieve flag rank and eventually vice admiral; and to command a numbered fleet, which was U.S. 3rd Fleet.
Gravely is the 57th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. The ship will be able to conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management, to sea control and power projection. Gravely will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and contains a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare in keeping with “A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower,” which postures the sea services to apply maritime power to protect U.S. vital interests.
Source : US Navy