2nd Navy ship to be named for N.J. war hero John Basilone

SOMERSET — A Navy ship will soon bear the name of John Basilone, a local New Jersey war hero and World War II Medal of Honor recipient, again. 

Gunnery Sgt. Basilone was born in Buffalo, N.Y., but was raised in Raritan Borough. Basilone received the Medal of Honor for his heroism during the Battle of Guadalcanal. He was the only enlisted United States Marine to be award the Medal of Honor, a Purple Heart and the Navy Cross for his service during WWII. 

The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer will be the second ship named for Basilone. The first ship, the USS Basilone, was decommissioned in 1977. The new 509-foot destroyer is expected to enter the Navy fleet in 2022. 

The announcement came Tuesday from Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus during a ceremony at the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.

“It is a great honor to name this ship in recognition of John Basilone,” said Mabus in a release. “I have no doubt that all who serve aboard her will carry on the legacy of service and commitment exemplified by this Marine Corps hero.”

After the Battle of Guadalcanal, Basilone returned home and received the Medal of Honor. He returned to combat in 1945 and was killed in Iowa Jima at the age of 28. 

Basilone’s story was featured in the HBO mini-series “The Pacific.” Each year, he is honored during the John Basilone Memorial Parade, which ends at a statue of the Marine.

Craig McCarthy may be reached at CMcCarthy@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @createcraig. Find NJ.com on Facebook.    

An undated copy photo of the Navy ship USS Basilone named after US Marine Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone. (NJNP COPY PHOTO)

An undated copy photo of the Navy ship USS Basilone named after US Marine Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone. (NJNP COPY PHOTO)