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USS Daniel Inouye another step closer to Pearl Harbor arrival

  • U.S. NAVY
                                The USS Daniel Inouye

    U.S. NAVY

    The USS Daniel Inouye

The Navy accepted delivery of the more than $1.5 billion guided-missile destroyer USS Daniel Inouye from shipbuilder General Dynamics Bath Iron Works in Maine on Monday.

Delivery of “DDG 118” represents the official transfer of the ship from the shipbuilder to the Navy. The ship recently conducted a series of at-sea and pier-side trials to demonstrate its material and operational readiness, the Navy said.

Named after one of the most influential politicians in Hawaii history, USS Daniel Inouye is tentatively scheduled to be commissioned at its home port of Pearl Harbor in the fall with a big pier-side ceremony attended by thousands — if COVID-19 is under control.

Bath Iron Works said the 510-foot destroyer will leave Bath “in several months” as it prepares to head to Hawaii, the Times Record in Maine reported.

“This highly capable platform will deliver the necessary combat power and proven capacity as the ship joins the world’s greatest Navy.” Capt. Seth Miller, program manager for the class of destroyer that USS Daniel Inouye is part of, said in a release. “DDG 118 will continue to honor the legacy of its namesake and ‘Go For Broke’ for decades to come as it supports our country.”

DDG 118 is a Flight IIA destroyer equipped with Aegis Baseline 9, which provides improved integrated air and missile defense capabilities, increased computing power, and radar upgrades that improve detection range and reaction time against air warfare and ballistic missile threats, the Navy said.

In 2013 then-Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced that a new destroyer would be named after the longtime U.S. senator, whom he called “a true American hero.” Inouye died in 2012.

At age 17 following the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, Inouye was pressed into service by the Red Cross at an aid station at Lunalilo School, where he cared for civilian victims.

The Japanese American served with the “Go For Broke” 442nd Regimental Combat Team in World War II. On April 21, 1945, in Italy, Inouye used grenades and gunfire to neutralize two German machine gun nests — even though wounded by a sniper’s bullet. He kept attacking even after a rifle grenade shattered his right arm, which he would lose.

Discrimination was widespread, and Inouye belatedly received the Medal of Honor with 21 other Asian Americans on June 21, 2000, for their service in World War II.

He joined a wave of young Japanese American World War II veterans graduating from college and returning to Hawaii in the early 1950s, the U.S. House of Representatives said in remembering him.

When Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959, Inouye became its first representative in the U.S. House. In 1962 he won election to the U.S. Senate. Inouye was the first Japanese American elected to both the House and Senate.

The Navy said the destroyer USS Frank E. Petersen Jr., under construction by Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding, also will be based at Pearl Harbor.

Petersen became the first African American Marine Corps aviator in 1952 and the first African American Marine Corps general officer in 1979. He served during the Korean and Vietnam wars and flew more than 350 combat missions.

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