CQ Roll Call Defense and Foreign Policy Editor Kevin Whitelaw alerts us to the Navy's announcement that one of its next destroyers will be named for the late Hawaii Sen. Daniel K. Inouye.
Inouye died in December while serving as the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the panel's defense subpanel. As the longest serving senator, he was also the Senate president pro tem. He received a Medal of Honor for service in Italy during World War II.
Senate appropriators, of course, want to see a U.S.S. Ted Stevens. Perhaps it would be fitting if Navy vessels named for the two "brothers" served together, given Inouye's and Stevens' storied friendship.
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that the ship is on track for construction at Maine's Bath Iron Works, with delivery of the vessel planned for six years from now.
Inouye visited Bath Iron Works as a House member way back in 1961, for the launch of the U.S.S. Leahy, named for Fleet Adm. William Daniel Leahy. In the photo above from the Roll Call attic, he's pictured on the left along with Montana Democratic Sens. Lee Metcalf and Mike Mansfield, Maureen Mansfield, Sen. Ed Muskie, D-Maine, and Rep. Stan Tupper, R-Maine.
"I am pleased that Secretary Mabus called me to let me know that the Navy would name a destroyer after Sen. Inouye. Secretary Mabus informed me that he had tried to name a ship after Senator while he was still alive, and knowing Senator, he wanted no part of it," Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, said in a statement reported by the Star-Advertiser.
Hanabusa is challenging fellow Democrat Brian Schatz for the seat that Inouye held until his death. Schatz was appointed to fill the unexpired term by Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Inouye's widow is supporting Hanabusa, and Inouye himself asked in one of his dying wishes that Abercrombie appoint Hanabusa to his seat.
The full release from the Navy:
Navy Names Next Two Destroyers
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced today the next Arleigh Burke-class destroyers (DDG) will be named USS Paul Ignatius and USS Daniel Inouye.
"As secretary of the Navy it is my privilege to name these ships to honor a respected naval leader and a true American hero." Mabus said. "For decades to come, the future USS Paul Ignatius and USS Daniel Inouye will represent the United States and enable the building of partnerships and projection of power around the world."
The future USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117) honors Paul Ignatius who served as secretary of the Navy 1967--1969 and as assistant secretary of defense under President Lyndon Johnson. The future USS Daniel Inouye (DDG 118) is named to honor former Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii. Inouye was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Tuscany, Italy, during World War II and later became a U.S. senator. USS Paul Ignatius and USS Daniel Inouye will be the first naval ships to bear these names.
Arleigh Burke-class destroyers conduct a variety of operations from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection. They are capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously and contain a myriad of offensive and defensive weapons designed to support maritime warfare.
DDG 117 and DDG 118 are part of the DDG 51 multiyear procurement with the contract award to the building yard pending. The ships will be 509 feet long, have a beam length of 59 feet and be capable of operating at speeds in excess of 30 knots.
Media may direct queries to the Navy Office of Information at 703-697-5342. For more news from secretary of the Navy public affairs, visit www.navy.mil/SECNAV .
Additional information about the Arleigh Burke class destroyers is available online at http://www.navy.mil/navydata/fact_display.asp?cid=4200&tid=900&ct=4 .