The US Navy commissioned its newest Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee (DDG 123), at a ceremony in Key West, Florida, on 13 May.

The ship’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 US Navy Cross.

When she entered naval service in 1908, she was one of the first 20 women, known as the “Sacred Twenty”, to join the newly established Navy Nurse Corps and contributed her nursing skills to the Navy during World War I.

This is the second ship named after Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee. The first, USS Higbee (DD 806), was the first combat warship named after a female member of the US Navy.

“Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee was ahead of her time, from being one of the first members of the Navy Nurse Corps, to being its second Superintendent, to being the first woman to earn the Navy Cross,” said Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro.

The ship is the 72nd Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, with 17 additional ships currently under contract for the DDG 51 programme.

The ship is configured as a Flight IIA destroyer, which enables power projection and delivers quick reaction time, high firepower, and increased electronic countermeasures capability for anti-air warfare.

The future USS Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee will be 509.5 feet long and 59 feet wide, with a displacement of 9,496 tons. She will be homeported in San Diego.

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