Destroyer launched

BATH — The family of President Lyndon B. Johnson, joined by Maine’s congressional delegation, Bath Iron Works workers and hundreds of Mainers, honored the late president’s legacy Saturday at the christening of his namesake stealth destroyer at the shipyard.

Named after the 36th president of the United States, the future USS Lyndon B. Johnson is the third and final Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer built at BIW.

“It’s a great honor to be naming this ship after my father,” said Lynda Bird Johnson Robb, who sponsored the ship along with her sister, Luci Baines Johnson.

“Daddy was a proud Navy man,” she said. “I can assure you that he has a big grin on his face now. A grin of pride, memory and gratitude. My father always delighted in having something named for him … He would tease his friends and staff that if they named their baby after him, he would present them with a heifer calf.”

Robb said she thought about it but decided to bring only a small remembrance of that.

“So, I have a little longhorn here for Captain Gray to have in whatever place he thinks is the most appropriate on the ship.”

Dirk Lesko, president of Bath Iron Works, said the shipyard is experiencing the most significant changes in the composition of its workforce in three decades. Still, last year, it delivered two ships, the first time the shipyard had delivered two ships 14 weeks apart since 1995.

The 15,761-ton, 610-foot USS Lyndon B. Johnson’s homeport will be in San Diego, Calif.

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