The Navy is scheduled to announce next week at Camp Pendleton that a future warship will be named after John Basilone, a Marine World War II hero.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is scheduled to announce Tuesday that an upcoming destroyer will be named for the gunnery sergeant, who also has a roadway named after him at the sprawling base in northern San Diego County, military officials said.
Basilone, a native of Buffalo, earned the Medal of Honor for valor during fighting on the island of Guadalcanal, a key battle that helped turn the tide of the Pacific conflict. In October 1942, he and fellow Marines staved off numerous charges by Japanese troops aiming for Henderson Field, the key objective of the battle.
Following a stateside tour to promote the sale of war bonds, he returned to action in the Pacific and was killed in February 1945 on the island of Iwo Jima. He was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously, becoming the only enlisted Marine to win the two medals in World War II.
DDG 122, expected to enter service in six years, will be the second destroyer named for Basilone. The first was decommissioned almost 40 years ago, according to the Navy.
Following the Camp Pendleton event, Mabus is scheduled to travel to San Francisco, where he will officially announce the naming of a Military Sealift Command oiler after gay rights activist Harvey Milk, the Military Times reported.
Milk, a Navy diving instructor in San Diego, went on to become the first openly gay public official in California in 1977 when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Milk and then-San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were murdered by a fellow city official the following year.
—City News Service