On Saturday, U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Adm. Harry Harris presided over the commissioning of the Navy's newest Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, the USS John Finn, in a ceremony at Pearl Harbor.
Finn is the 63rd Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and the first of her type to enter the fleet since 2012. The Navy says that she is capable of a full scale of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, and she is designed to handle air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously.
"John Finn brings both the saber and the shield into the fight," said Adm. Harris. "The advanced combat systems, coupled with the innovative spirit and the killer instinct of her amazing crew, are powerful reminders of our readiness to fight tonight. This warship is the embodiment of America’s resolve to protect our homeland and defend our allies."
President Donald Trump tweeted his congratulations to the Finn's first crew. "The #USSJohnFinn will provide essential capabilities to keep America safe. Our sailors are the best anywhere in the world," he wrote.
The destroyer's name honors Chief Aviation Ordnanceman John Finn, who was among the first Medal of Honor recipients of the Second World War. Finn showed exceptional courage during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. While under heavy machine gun fire, Finn manned a .50-caliber machine gun mounted on an instruction stand in a completely exposed section of a parking ramp, where he returned fire at Japanese aircraft for hours. Though wounded 21 times, he stayed in the fight until he was asked to stand down. After receiving first aid treatment, he overcame the effects of his injuries and returned to supervise the rearming of American planes. Finn served throughout the war, earning a commission and eventually winning promotion to the rank of lieutenant. He passed away in May 2010 at the age of 100.
"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," Adm. Finn said. "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."