The US Navy has commissioned the latest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer in Key West, Florida.
USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123) was named after the second Navy Nurse Corps Superintendent who received the Navy Cross during World War I.
She was among the first 20 women who joined the newly-established segment and aided the naval force in 1908.
“Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee was ahead of her time, from being one of the first members of the Navy Nurse Corps, to being its second Superintendent, to being the first woman to earn the Navy Cross,” US Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro stated.
“I am confident that the crew who will sail USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee will continue to honor and embody her trailblazing legacy.”
Tribute to US Naval Medical Force
The US Navy leaders also paid tribute to the service’s medical personnel during the ceremony, as the event coincided with National Nurses Week.
“It is fitting we commission this ship this week, which is National Nurses week, and particularly this day, the 13th of May,” US Naval Operations Admr. Mike Gilday said.
“On this day our Navy Nurse Corps was established creating the institution that is the lifeblood of Navy Medicine. Somebody once said, save a life and you’re a hero. Save a hundred lives, you’re a nurse.”
US Navy DDG 51 Program
DDG 123 serves as the 72nd Arleigh Burke-class vessel. It will be followed by 17 additional ships under construction as part of the US Navy’s DDG 51 program.
Some destroyers developed under the effort, including the DDG 123, are built with Flight IIA configuration, which enables quick ration time, enhanced electronic countermeasures capability, and high firepower for air defense.
USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee measures 509.5 feet (155 meters) in length and 59 feet (18 meters) in width. It will be deployed from its homeport in San Diego for future operations.