The USS Thomas Hudner clears Bluff Head in Arrowsic on its way out to sea, in this photo by Arrowsic resident Paul Kalkstein. (Contributed photo via Paul Kalkstein)

BATH — The future USS Thomas Hudner departed Bath Iron Works on Wednesday bound for Boston, where the ship will be commissioned in December.

Hudner is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer. Following successful acceptance trials this spring, the Navy accepted delivery of the destroyer in June.

“The delivery of the future USS Thomas Hudner represents a very special milestone in this shipbuilding program,” said Capt. Casey Moton, DDG-51 class program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships, at the time. “The ship honors the legacy and heroism of Capt. Hudner and also represents the proud efforts of the shipbuilders at BIW. As the ship now prepares to sailaway and enter the fleet, it will continue the strong Aegis tradition in serving our Navy for decades to come.”

The ship’s namesake, Capt. Thomas Hudner Jr., was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Korean War. Hudner, originally from Fall River, Massachusetts, served as a wingman for Ens. Jessie L. Brown, the first African-American aviator in the U.S. Navy, during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in 1950. When Brown was shot down, Hudner intentionally crash landed his plane in an attempt to rescue his downed comrade. While ultimately unable to extract Brown, Hudner was rescued and awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions.

Hudner died at age 93 in November, just months after he came to Bath in April 2017 and witnessed the christening of the destroyer that bears his name. He was interred with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

“Meeting and getting to know Capt. Hudner allowed my crew and I to have a deeper understanding of what he stood for and has truly been a unique privilege for us. We strive to operate in the spirit of Capt. Hudner in all that we do onboard to pay homage to our great namesake,” said Cdr. Nathan Scherry, first Commanding Officer of the Thomas Hudner, in a statement. “I am thankful for the opportunity to lead over 300 of America’s finest men and women as we prepare this warship for service in the active fleet and know that we will be the finest ship on the waterfront.”

The future USS Thomas Hudner is the 36th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer BIW has delivered to the Navy. The keel for the ship was laid in November of 2015.

In September, BIW was awarded a $3.9 billion contract to build four more Arleigh Burke-class destroyers.

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