On July 3, Dr. Doug Bradburn, the President and CEO of Mount Vernon, welcomed Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro and Ambassador of France Laurent Bili, along with his wife, Sabine Raczy-Bili, to attend a ship-naming celebration for the future USS Lafayette. The vessel’s name honors the Marquis de Lafayette and his service as a major general in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. The decision to hold the ceremony at George Washington’s home reflects the longstanding friendship between the general-turned-president and the young Frenchman. The two men enjoyed a connection often described as akin to that of a father and son after Lafayette successfully petitioned the king for military aid to the Americans and subsequently became a member of Washington’s personal staff. The Constellation-class guided missile frigate represents the Navy's next generation of small-surface combatants, with multi-mission capability to conduct air, anti-submarine, surface, electronic and information warfare operations.