Bath museum celebrates launch of BIW's latest ship

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BATH — With plenty of pomp and circumstance, Bath Iron Works on Wednesday launched its latest vessel, which left to join the fleet of the U.S. Navy.

The Maine Maritime Museum, marking 50 years of dedication to preserving and promoting the four-century history of ships being built on this state’s shores, celebrated the event, just down the Kennebec River from the launch, with a sail-away salute.

The vessel – dubbed the Michael Murphy, or DDG-112 – is the 34th Arleigh Burke-class Aegis guided missile destroyer to be built by BIW. The vessel departed for New York City, where it will be ceremoniously commissioned.

The Michael Murphy is named for a Navy SEAL lieutenant who earned the Medal of Honor for service in Afghanistan. He and his team were ambushed by at least 40 guerrillas during a search for a Taliban leader, according to information provided by the Maine Maritime Museum. Despite being severely wounded during a firefight, Murphy made his way to open ground to call for assistance and for his team to be rescued. He was killed after he completed the call.

Wednesday’s event included speeches from U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud, D-Maine, and Navy Capt. Mark Vandroff, DDG 51 program manager in the Executive Program Office, Ships. There were also remarks from retired Navy Capt. Thomas Hudner, who is the last living Navy recipient of the Medal of Honor from the Korean War.

Hudner is also the namesake of the DDG-116, which will also be built at BIW.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Sidebar Elements

The Michael Murphy, DDG-112, leaves Bath Iron Works on Wednesday, Sept. 5, to join the U.S. Navy fleet.

The DDG-112’s crew salutes spectators gathered on the shore of the Kennebec River.

The Michael Murphy makes its way down the Kennebec River.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.