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Keel laid for warship honoring World War II Marine hero

BATH, Maine — A Maine shipyard announced it celebrated the keel laying of a future Navy guided-missile destroyer on Friday.

General Dynamics Bath Iron Works reached the milestone in the construction of the future John Basilone.

A keel laying ceremony is one of the major events in the life of a ship.

The ship's sponsors and a BIW welder authenticated the keel by striking welding arcs onto the steel plate, the shipyard said.

The keel laying is a precursor to the final construction of the ship, testing and sea trials, the shipyard said.

The ship is named for Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone, who earned the Medal of Honor for bravery at the Battle of Guadalcanal and the Navy Cross at Iwo Jima, where he was killed.

He was the only enlisted Marine in World War II who received both decorations, the shipyard said.

Sgt. Lena Mae Basilone, USMC(WR), ship's sponsor, prepares to christen the destroyer bearing the name of Gunnery Sgt. John J. Basilone, her late husband, at the Consolidated Steel Company Shipyard, Orange, Texas, on 21 December 1945. (From the All Hands collection at U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command)
Sgt. Lena Mae Basilone, USMC(WR), ship's sponsor, prepares to christen the destroyer bearing the name of Gunnery Sgt. John J. Basilone, her late husband, at the Consolidated Steel Company Shipyard, Orange, Texas, on 21 December 1945. (From the All Hands collection at U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command)
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