Navy ship christened at Bath Iron Works | News
BATH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --Hundreds gathered to watch the christening of the U.S.S. Rafael Peralta DDG 115, a new navy ship constructed at Bath Iron Works.
The ship is named for United States Marine Sergeant Rafael Peralta, who immigrated to the United States from Mexico, according to the United States Navy.
On the same day he earned his green card, Peralta enlisted in the Marines, according to the Navy.
The DDG 115 is the 35th Arleigh Burk Class missile destroyer built by Bath Iron Works employees. It is the 65th ship of its class.
"It's easy to see that she is like the Marine for which she is named: proud, fearless, and strong," said Vice Admiral Robin Braun, the Chief of Navy Research.
Sergeant Peralta was killed in action on November 15, 2004 while clearing houses in the city of Fallujah, Iraq, during Operation Al Fajr. Peralta was shot multiple times, and pulled a live grenade under his body to absorb the blast and save his fellow Marines, according to the Navy.
Peralta was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the Purple Heart, and other decorations.
His Marine comrades said Peralta hung the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights on his wall.
He sent his brother Ricardo a letter during his time overseas.
"Be proud of me. The letter goes on to say he was going to make history," said Ricardo Peralta.
"Today we are naming one of the world's most powerful fighting ships after this fighting man," said U.S. Marine Commandant General Robert Neller. "May she sail fast. May she be ready at all times to go into harm's way. May she be successful in all missions and do so with the pride and courage with which he served."
The ship weighs more than 9,200 tons and is more than 500 feet long. T$he Latin motto 'fortis ad finem:' 'courageous to the end,' commemorating Sergeant Peralta's character while serving in Iraq, is on its crest.
"His legacy will carry on as long as the Marine Corps and the U.S.S. Rafael Peralta stays alive, because he has become a part of American history," said Peralta.
Senator Susan Collins, Angus King, as well as Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and Congressman Bruce Poliquin all attended the event.