US Navy reveals name of Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer DDG-142

Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro announced today that the future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer DDG-142 will be named USS Charles J. French.

Illustration; Photo: US Navy

According to the US Navy officials, the vessel will be named after Navy Mess Specialist 1st Class Petty Officer Charles Jackson French.

Hailed as the “Human Tugboat” and “Hero of the Solomons,” Charles French was an African American man born in Foreman, Arkansas, Sept. 25, 1919. He joined the Navy as a mess attendant before the United States formally entered World War II, and served four years aboard the Hawaii-based heavy cruiser USS Houston (CA 30). 

Known for his heroic actions in the Pacific Theater of World War II, French saved 15 of his shipmates after their high-speed transport was sunk in combat during the Battle of Guadalcanal.

For his actions, he was recommended for the Navy Cross, but received a letter of commendation from the commander of the Southern Pacific Fleet, Adm. William F. “Bull” Halsey.

Previously, Secretary Del Toro posthumously awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal to French in May 2022.

Fabrication of the ship is projected for 2026 with a projected keel laying set for 2027, projected christening in 2029, and delivery projected for 2031.