USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee
The future USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee during builder’s trials in December. Navy photo

The Navy’s newest guided-missile destroyer, the USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee, was commissioned at a ceremony on Saturday in Key West, Fla.

The 510-foot, Arleigh Burke-class destroyer is the 72nd in the class and will be based in San Diego.

The warship’s namesake, Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee, served as the second superintendent of the Navy Nurse Corps in 1911, and was also the first woman recipient of the Navy Cross.

Rear Admiral Cynthia Kuehner, commander of Naval Medical Forces Support and director of the Navy Nurse Corps, delivered the commissioning ceremony’s principal address.

“I and the nearly 4,000 active and reserve professionals represent will forever feel connected to this moment in history and words cannot fully express our gratitude for our presence and representation,” said Kuehner. ““The story of Lenah Higbee is the story of past, present and future Navy nurses and the undeniable, inseparable role of the Navy nurse in defense of our nation.”

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

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