WASHINGTON: The Navy will commission the future USS Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, during a 10:00 a.m. (HST) ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickham, Dec. 8.
The future USS Daniel Inouye is named in honor of the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, who served as a Hawaii representative in the Senate from 1963 until he died in 2012.
The Honorable Carlos Del Toro, Secretary of the Navy, will deliver the keynote address at the ceremony. Remarks will also be provided by The Honorable David Ige, Governor of Hawaii; The Honorable Kaiali’i Kahele, U.S. Representative, Hawaii’s 2nd District; The Honorable Rick Blangiardi, Mayor of Honolulu; Adm. Samuel Paparo, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet; Mr. Ken Inouye, Sen. Inouye’s son; and Mr. Ed Kenyon, Director of New Construction Programs, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works.
“The late Senator Daniel Inouye spent his entire life in public service, both in uniform and out,” said Del Toro. “Senator Inouye’s life is one to be emulated and the crew of this warship will not only be inspired by his legacy, but will stand the watch with the honor and dignity deserving of a ship bearing his name.”
The ship’s sponsor Mrs. Irene Hirano Inouye, Sen. Inouye’s wife, established a strong bond with the crew before her passing on April 7, 2020. At the keel laying in 2018, she welded her initials into the ship’s keel and, in 2019, she broke a bottle of champagne on the bow in a christening ceremony bestowing the name on the ship. During a “mast stepping” ceremony, she placed items special to Sen. Inouye in the ship’s mast. Mrs. Inouye appointed two Matrons of Honor to assist with sponsorship duties: Jessica Inouye, the wife of Senator Inouye’s only son Ken, and Jennifer Sabas, Senator Inouye’s former chief of staff and current executive director of the Daniel Inouye Institute. In a time-honored Navy tradition, Jennifer and Jessica, along with the Maid of Honor, Maggie Inouye, Sen. Inouye’s granddaughter, will give the first order to “man our ship and bring her to life,” in Mrs. Inouye’s stead.
The commissioning ceremony coincides with the 80th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Commemoration events. On December 7, 1941, Daniel Inouye was a 17-year-old senior at Honolulu’s McKinley High School and rushed to a Red Cross aid station to help civilians and Sailors wounded in the attack.
On April 21, 1945, while serving with the 442nd Infantry Regiment Combat Team in Italy during World War II, an exploding grenade shattered his right arm during an assault. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation. He remained at the head of his platoon until they broke the enemy resistance and his troops deployed in defensive positions, continuing to fight until the regiment’s position was secured. Later in life, he received the Medal of Honor for his extraordinary heroism during the assault.
Cmdr. DonAnn Gilmore, of Anniston, Alabama, is the ship’s commanding officer and leads a crew of 329 officers and enlisted Sailors. Gilmore is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University. She previously commanded Mine Countermeasures Crew Exultant.
“This crew put a tremendous amount of work into preparing to bring USS Daniel Inouye to life on December 8. We all share a deep sense of pride and honor to represent our namesake, the late Senator and U.S. Army Medal of Honor recipient Daniel Inouye and those he represented for 53 years in the House and Senate,” said Gilmore. “Through USS Daniel Inouye’s service to our nation, every Sailor aboard will strive to make ours the preeminent ship on the waterfront. We embody the ship’s motto, a battle cry adopted from Senator Inouye’s Army unit, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. We will ‘Go For Broke!’ as Daniel Inouye did on the battlefield and in halls of the Senate.”
The ship is nearly 510 feet long and has a navigational draft of 33 feet. As a Flight IIA destroyer, DDG 118 is equipped with Aegis Baseline 9, which provides improved Integrated Air and Missile Defense capabilities, increased computing power, and radar capable of quickly detecting and reacting to modern air warfare and Ballistic Missile Defense threats.
Built by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, Daniel Inouye was christened June 22, 2019, and delivered to the Navy on March 8, 2021.
In addition to Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), General Dynamics – Bath Iron Works (BIW) has five additional Arleigh Burke-class destroyers under construction, to include the future: USS John Basilone (DDG 122), the future USS Harvey C. Barnum Jr. (DDG 124), the future USS Patrick Gallagher (DDG 127), the future USS Louis H. Wilson Jr. (DDG 126), and the future USS William Charette (DDG 130). Bath Iron Works is under contract to construct four additional Arleigh Burke-class destroyers with the Flight III configuration that includes enhanced Integrated Air and Missile Defense capabilities.
USS Daniel Inouye is the 69th Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer commissioned to the Navy and the first ship to bear her name. Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are the backbone of the U.S. Navy’s surface fleet and critical to the future Navy. They are highly capable, multi-mission ships and can conduct various operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection – all supporting the United States military strategy.
USS Daniel Inouye’s homeport is Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.