The future USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee is launched in January. Courtesy Huntington Ignalls Industries

The Navy on Saturday christened the latest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer headed for homeport in San Diego.

The future USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee honors the barrier-breaking woman who served as the second Superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps and was the first living woman to receive the Navy Cross in honor of her service in World War I.

“The future USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee will serve for decades as a reminder of Ms. Higbee’s service to our nation and her unwavering support of a strong and healthy Navy and Marine Corps team,” said Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Harker.

“This ship honors not only her service but that of all of our Navy nurses who support the strength and wellbeing of our service members and their families,” he said.

Former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus gave the address during the traditional ceremony at the Huntington Ingalls Industries shipyard on the Mississippi coast.

The 73rd Arleigh Burke-class destroyer will be 509.5 feet long and 59 feet wide, with a displacement of 9,496 tons.

The warship will be armed with the sophisticated Aegis radar and fire-control system, 96 guided missiles in vertical launch tubes, a 5-inch gun, a Phalanx rapid-fire anti-aircraft gun and two helicopters.

The ship is the second to honor Higbee. The first, a World War II-era destroyer that also saw action in the Vietnam War, was the first warship named for a female member of the Navy.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.