The U.S. Navy on June 22 commissioned its newest Arleigh Burkeclass destroyer, the USS Daniel Inouye (DDG-118), at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works shipyard in Maine.
The Flight IIAAegis ship honors the late Hawaii senator and World War II veteran, the only senator to receive the Medal of Freedom and the Medal of Honor. The 509-foot is the USN’s 68th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer and will be homeported at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii, where it is expected to arrive in 2020.
The ship carries the “Go For Broke” motto of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, in which Inouye served. During a battle in Italy in 1945, he was seriously wounded and lost his right arm.
When Hawaii became a state in 1959, Inouye was elected to the House of Representatives. He was elected to the Senate in 1962 and served until his passing in 2012 at the age of 88.
In keeping with Navy tradition, his wife, Irene Hirano Inouye, christened the ship by breaking a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow.
Sen. Mazie K. Hirono, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower, delivered the principal address at the christening ceremony.
“A christening is one of the most important moments in the life of Navy ship,” she said. “It is a time when we solemnly dedicate, name, and commit a new ship to sea and service to our country.
“A ship’s christening is also intended to invite good luck to the crew in carrying out their mission. This is especially important when the ship will be dispatched in defense of the United States in uncertain times.
“Over the coming decades, thousands of sailors will serve aboard this ship – each of them answering their country’s call to serve something greater than themselves…
“The ship we are christening in Sen. Inouye’s name today will soon make its way to Hawaii, where it will join nine other guided-missile destroyers stationed at Pearl Harbor.
“There, under the prospective command of Commander DonAnn Gilmore, this ship will play a critical role in protecting and advancing American interests in the Indo-Pacific region – just as Sen. Inouye did throughout his life and service in Congress.
“To the brave sailors who will serve on the Navy’s newest ship and who are here today, I commend you for continuing in the tradition of Sen. Inouye’s service to our country.
“To the crew, I wish you makani olu olu. I wish you all fair winds. Go for broke, as you serve the country on this incredible new ship.
“Mahalo nui loa. Aloha.”