The first U.S. Navy ship named for Pfc. Ralph Henry Johnson, USMC (11 January 1949–5 March 1968), who received the Medal of Honor (posthumously) for his “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity” during the Vietnam War. For additional information see Private First Class Ralph H. Johnson, USMC.
(DDG-114: displacement 9,140; length 510'; beam 59'; draft 31'; speed 30+ knots; complement 314; armament 1 5-inch, Mk 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) for 96 BGM-109 Tomahawks, RGM-84 Harpoons, SM-2MR Standards, Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSMs), and RUM-139 VL-ASROC Antisubmarine Rockets, 1 Close In Weapon System (CIWS), 2 25 millimeter, 4 machine guns, 6 Mk 32 torpedo tubes, and Kingfisher mine-avoidance system; aircraft 2 Sikorsky MH-60B/R Seahawks; class Arleigh Burke)
Ralph Johnson (DDG-114) was laid down on 12 September 2014 at Pascagoula, Miss., by Huntington Ingalls Industries; launched on 12 December 2015; sponsored by Mrs. Georgeann B. McRaven, wife of Adm. William H. McRaven, Commander, Special Operations Command; completed her builder’s trials in the Gulf of Mexico on 20 July 2017; was delivered on 15 November 2017; and commissioned on 24 March 2018, at Charleston, S.C., the hometown of the ship’s namesake, Cmdr. Jason P. Paterson in command.
The colors dark blue and gold are traditional colors associated with the Navy. The Celeste (light blue) represents the Medal of Honor blue, and the dark blue with the five stars in the formation of the Southern Cross comes from the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion patch, signifying Johnson’s USMC service. The trident is a traditional naval symbol, and the flame emission symbolizes the Integrated Air and Missile Defense system on board the ship.
The symbolic Vietnamese dragon is associated with water and is considered to have authority over life and death. Dragons are responsible for rain, without which life could not continue. The one star annotates the life Johnson saved during his heroic action that earned him the Medal of Honor.
Navy Officer sword, Navy Chief Petty Officer cutlass, Marine Corps Officer Mameluke, and Marine Corps Noncommissioned Officer sword.
The coat of arms as blazoned in full color on a white oblong disc within a dark blue designation band, edged with a gold roped border and bearing the name “USS RALPH JOHNSON” at the top and “DDG 114” at the base.
Detailed history pending.
Mark L. Evans
26 March 2018