The U.S. Navy commissioned its newest guided-missile destroyer, USS Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), Dec. 8, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. The ship honors the local hero and statesman, Sen. Daniel K. Inouye. Sen. Inouye was a U.S. senator from Hawaii who served in congress from 1962 until his death in 2012. During World War II, Inouye served in the U.S. Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team, one of the most decorated military units in U.S. history. For his combat heroism, which cost him his right arm, Inouye was awarded the Medal of Honor. Guest speakers for the event also included the governor of Hawaii, David Ige, Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Carlos Del Toro, and Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet. More than 1,000 guests including service members, veterans, and their families witnessed as the Navy’s 69th Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer joined the fleet. During the ceremony, Ken Inouye, Daniel Inouye’s son, thanked the crew and the commissioning committee for honoring his father.
Prior to her passing on April 7, 2020, Sen. Inouye’s wife, Mrs. Irene Hirano Inouye, executed her duties as the ship’s sponsor by establishing a strong bond with the crew during traditional shipbuilding milestones at Bath Iron Works. At the keel laying in 2018, she welded her initials into the keel of the ship. In 2019, Irene 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 her with her 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 K. Inouye Institute. During the ceremony, the senator’s granddaughter and ceremonial maid of honor, 11-year-old Maggie Inouye, gave the traditional order, “Man our ship and bring her to life!”
“As a former destroyer captain, I know first hand about the ability, versatility and distributive power this ship will add to our deterrent capabilities. There is absolutely no more of a fitting name for this ship than Sen. Inouye,” said Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Carlos Del Toro.
“This ship, the USS Daniel Inouye, will join the U.S. Pacific Fleet and the Indo-Pacom joint team. This ship and its crew are ready to assume its critical mission: The defense and safeguarding of the well-being and interests of our nation.” said and Adm. Samuel Paparo, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet.
“I hope that in the spirit of aloha and the spirit of ohana you all consider yourselves a part of our ohana,” said Ken Inouye, Daniel Inouye’s son.