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Navy to name destroyer after Inouye

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The Navy announced today that a new destroyer will be named after the late U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, one of the most influential members of the Senate during his 50-year tenure, a tenacious fighter for the betterment of Hawaii and a stalwart military supporter.

Inouye died Dec. 17 of a respiratory ailment at age 88.

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced the names of the next two Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers — one honoring Inouye and the other a former naval secretary.

“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.”

Paul Ignatius served as secretary of the Navy 1967-1969 and as assistant secretary of defense under President Lyndon Johnson.

Inouye was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Tuscany, Italy, during World War II and later became a U.S. senator.

“This is a wonderful tribute and I would like to thank Secretary Mabus, the U.S. Navy and the Department of Defense for this high honor,” said Irene Hirano Inouye, the late senator’s wife. “Dan always adamantly refused when anyone suggested naming anything after him, but he would have been deeply humbled by this.”

She added that as a World War II combat veteran, “the brave men and women of our armed forces held a special place in Dan’s heart and he dedicated much of his life to providing for their safety and well being. It is very fitting that a vessel bearing his name will continue to keep our troops and our nation safe.” 

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a release that Mabus called her today and confirmed the plans.

“This is a fitting tribute to Sen. Inouye, whose own strength and determination inspired so many of us. Our Navy will be proud to have a ship bearing his name deployed throughout the world, continuing to fight and defend us,” Hanabusa said.

DDG-118, the destroyer that will bear Inouye’s name, is on contract to be built at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine, a major shipyard that is responsible for the construction of multiple types of surface ships, mostly ordered by the Navy, Hanabusa said. The ship is expected to be delivered in mid-2018.

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