General Dynamics’ Bath Iron Works has celebrated the keel laying of the future USS Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), bringing the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer that much closer to completion.
The vessel’s namesake, Senator Daniel Inouye, received a Medal of Honor in recognition of his heroism in Tuscany during World War II. Daniel later represented Hawaii in the US Senate for 50 years and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.
Irene Hirano Inouye, wife of the late senator and founding President of the US-Japan Council, is the ship’s sponsor. A steel plate bearing her initials was specially made for the ceremony with Mrs Inouye presiding over the laying of the keel, striking welding arcs onto the plate’s surface.
According to General Dynamics, DDG 118 is now over halfway complete. The immense 3,000 tonne keel was transported from the shipyard’s Ultra Hall to the building ways earlier in the year. Crucially, this most recent milestone signifies the start of hull integration and is a precursor to the integration, testing and sea trial phase.
Ed Kenyon, DDG 51 Program Manager for Bath Iron Works, hosted the ceremony and welcomed an audience of Bath Iron Works employees, US Navy personnel and representatives from other major subcontractors on the project, in addition to the ship’s sponsor.
“This unit is a massive example of what we can accomplish here at Bath Iron Works, with people working together in a great enterprise,” Kenyon said. “Over the coming months, we will continue to apply the knowledge and expertise honed over the decades. Daniel Inouye will be a true and steady vessel, the pride of our Navy.”
Mrs Inouye said that her late husband worked hard as a senator to ensure the US military had the most formidable equipment, adding that the ship would be a fitting tribute: “It will really leave a legacy for the senator and for the many things he stood for, most notably the fact that this country believes in democracy and all that we need to do to protect it.”
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Image courtesy of BNK Maritime Photographer / Shutterstock.com
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