Navy christens ship named for Medal of Honor recipient

McCOOLCOVER
Ship’s sponsors Shana McCoIol and Kate Oja christen Richard M. McCool Jr. (LPD29), the U.S. Navy’s 13th San Antonio-class amphibious transport Dock at Hill’s Ingalls Shipbuilding division on June 11, 2022, LPD29 is named for McCool and Oja’s grandfather, Capt. Richard M. McCool Jr., a Medal of Honor recipient. Also pictured are Capt. Jeffrey Baker, prospective commanding officer of the ship; Kari Wilkinson, Ingalls Shipbuilding president; and Erik Raven, under secretary of the Navy. Photo credit Ingalls Shipbuilding

The 13th amphibious transport dock constructed by Ingalls Shipbuilding division for the U.S. Navy was christened at a ceremony on June 11.

“Today we reflect on Richard M. McCool Jr.’s bravery and heroism in front of a ship that will carry another generation of brave sailors and Marines into missions defending our freedom,” said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Kari Wilkinson in a release.

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LPD29 is named in honor of  Navy Capt. Richard M. McCool Jr., who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in rescuing survivors from a sinking destroyer and for saving his own landing support ship during a World War II kamikaze attack.

His rescue efforts took place exactly 77 years prior to the day Richard M. McCool Jr.  was christened.

“Richard M. McCool Jr. truly embodied the spirit of service above self,” said Under Secretary of the Navy Erik Raven said. “The sailors and Marines who will sail on this future ship carry on that legacy following the example of spirit, patriotism and selflessness set by Richard M. McCool Jr.”

The ship is co-sponsored by Shana McCool and Kate Oja, granddaughters of its namesake. Together, they officially christened Richard M. McCool Jr. by smashing a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow of the ship.

When speaking about her grandfather’s heroic acts some 77 years ago, Shana McCool said, “To the commanding officer and future crew of this ship, may she (the ship) keep you safe. And in the words of our grandfather, may you always remember to fight as a unit and not as individuals.”

Additional information about the ship and its sponsors is available here.

Reach Julia LeDoux at Julia@connectingvets.com.