USS Daniel Inouye Commissioned in Hawaii

On Wednesday, the plank owners of USS Daniel Inouye (DDG-118) ran aboard the Navy’s newest commissioned ship as music blared in the background. The guided-missile destroyer was commissioned Wednesday in Hawaii, a day after the 80th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. The date was fitting, as the ship is named after the late […]

Sailors assigned to the U.S. Navy’s newest guided-missile destroyer, the future USS Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), wait to disembark the ship upon arrival Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Nov. 18. US Navy Photo

On Wednesday, the plank owners of USS Daniel Inouye (DDG-118) ran aboard the Navy’s newest commissioned ship as music blared in the background.

The guided-missile destroyer was commissioned Wednesday in Hawaii, a day after the 80th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. The date was fitting, as the ship is named after the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, who fought in World War II and was a high school student in Hawaii during the attacks.

Inouye helped civilians and sailors injured in the Dec 7, 1941 attacks, according to a release from the Department of Defense.

Inouye grew up in Hawaii, the grandson of Japanese immigrants, said Ken Inouye, the senator’s son, during the commissioning ceremony. He came from what his son called a “challenging” background, due to his family’s history.

After the Pearl Harbor attacks, Inouye was initially not allowed to serve because he was considered a class C, which meant an alien resident ineligible for military service, his son said. When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt allowed Japanese Americans to volunteer for the military, Inouye joined.

“Now, let’s think about this for a while. A guy who is considered 4C is having a ship named after him,” Ken Inouye said.

2nd Lt. Daniel Inouye in World War II.

Then Army 2nd Lt. Inouye lost his arm San Terenzo, Italy during an action in World War II that resulted in him receiving the Medal of Honor. His injury led him to meet Sen. Bob Dole, who died earlier this week, said Rear Adm. Timothy Kott, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, during the Pearl Harbor memorial ceremony Tuesday.

When Inouye asked Dole what he would do after they served, Dole told him about the plans to run for Congress, with the goal of ending in the Senate.

Inouye beat him to the Senate, Kott said. The two were friends, even if they were opposed politically, as Inouye was a Democrat and Dole a Republican, Ken Inouye said.

Ken Inouye said he believes his father went to serve in Congress because he saw the country as one that strives for a “more perfect union,” quoting the Constitution. Inouye saw the country as one that could fix its mistakes and better itself, his son said.

When he fought in the war, the enemy was someone who saw perfection in a specific type of person, Ken Inouye said.

“Meanwhile, America’s premised upon this more perfect union, always striving for that perfection, but never reaching it because they know it’s impossible,” Ken Inouye said. “They know it’s a moving target. And they know that what seems right at one point may not seem just many years later.”

As part of his military service, Inouye received multiple medals, including the Purple Heart, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro said during the commissioning ceremony. But Inouye cared more about his service to his country than the medals.

“Sen. Inouye exemplified all that our nation’s military must be,” Del Toro said. “He was smart. He was determined. He was relentless. He was also an American warrior who always placed the interests of his country above his own.”

In order to recognize Inouye’s legacy, the military must be welcoming to and value all Americans, Del Toro said.

“We must recruit, retain, mentor, educate and promote the best of our nation,” he said. “That includes all the Daniel Inouyes that our country has to offer.”

Speaking to the crew of Daniel Inouye, Del Toro thanked them for their service, adding that as Navy secretary he will work to keep them and their families safe.

“Everywhere I’ve gone as secretary, I’ve been struck by the high morale, the unrelenting spirit and determination of our sailors and our Marines,” Del Toro said. “They carry the proud legacy of all who served before them in every conflict and branch of service.”

The crew represents all that Inouye stood for and the good about the United States, the secretary said.

Over the past few years, the crew has learned about Inouye and embodied his legacy, ship commander Cmdr. DonAnn Gilmore said, after the ship was manned.

“This crew and this ship is proud to join the Greyhounds of Destroyer Squadron 31, the Pearl Harbor waterfront and the fleet,” she said. “And we are ready. Daniel Inouye has the watch, and stands ready to answer all bells.”

Pearl Harbor Attacks, Veterans Remembered in 80th Anniversary Ceremony

A reminder of the attack on Pearl Harbor sits in the office of Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro. It is the ship’s bell from USS Vestal (AR-4), a repair ship that was at the naval station when the Japanese attacked 80 years ago. During the attacks, six sailors were trapped in a fire […]

Mr. Ronald G. Scharfe, a World War II veteran, observes the USS Arizona Memorial during a World War II veterans harbor tour as part of the 80th Anniversary Pearl Harbor Remembrance on Dec. 5. US Navy Photo

A reminder of the attack on Pearl Harbor sits in the office of Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro.

It is the ship’s bell from USS Vestal (AR-4), a repair ship that was at the naval station when the Japanese attacked 80 years ago.

During the attacks, six sailors were trapped in a fire control tower, Del Toro said during a memorial ceremony Tuesday. A petty officer spotted them and tossed the sailors a line, despite his orders to cut loose from the damaged ship. The men were able to use the line to make it to safety.

“We sometimes talk about our victory in World War II, as if it was inevitable, only a matter of time,” Del Toro said. “There was nothing inevitable about one sailor’s decision to toss that line. And there was nothing inevitable about the courage it took for those wounded men to get across from the lowest point in the line to the safety of the vessel.”

The Navy secretary gathered with veterans, members of the military community and Hawaii residents to remember Pearl Harbor. Members of the military remember the attacks as they continue to honor the legacy of those who died and veterans of the attacks, Del Toro said.

“We carry your legacy as we stand ready once again to defend freedom and democracy around the world,” the secretary said. “Let there be no mistake in the face of authoritarian threats, we will never back down. We will defend our freedom and stand by our partners and allies around the globe.”

USS Vestal (AR-4) beached on Aiea shoal, Pearl Harbor, after the Japanese raid. She is listing from damage caused by two bombs that hit her during the attack. US Navy Photo

When the Japanese attacked on Dec. 7, 1941, they attacked more than the country or the fleet, Del Toro said. They attacked the future of freedom and democracy, which is important to him, as someone who immigrated from a country that did not have those values, he added.
Del Toro’s family came from Cuba when he was a young child, looking for a better life in the United States, he said.

“We found that better life because of the honor, the courage and the commitment of those who have always fought to protect our nation’s freedoms,” Del Toro said.

Del Toro was preceded by Rear Adm. Timothy Kott, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, who spoke about the memorials around Pearl Harbor and the veterans that served.

“The veterans here today represent their shipmates, Marines, battle buddies, wingmen, families and friends, aptly named the greatest generation,” Kott said. “Your steadfast endurance and gallantry continue to inspire and set the absolute standard for today’s generation of Americans following in your footsteps, serving our country, both in and out of uniform.”

Guided-missile Daniel Inouye (DDG-118). BIW Photo

Kott also welcomed Daniel Inouye (DDG-118), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer named after Sen. Daniel Inouye, who fought in WWII. The destroyer is set to commission on Wednesday. Inouye met the late Sen. Bob Dole, who died Sunday, after the two men were both injured in the war, Kott said. The two became friends and served in Congress together.

The destroyer serves as an example of how legacies pass from one generation to the next, Kott said.

“Like as those of you are here with us today, Sen. Inouye embodied the values that saw your generation through an area of uncertainty and the cauldron of war,” Kott said. “All of you embody the values such as hard work responsibilities, serving family and community, answering the call to serve despite the unknown danger that lay before you.”

As each year passes, there are fewer veterans from the attacks, but their memories continue on, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement.

“Indeed, now together with our allies and partners, we remain committed to defending the free and open Indo-Pacific that these heroes built,” Austin said in the statement. “And we remain committed to maintaining the international rules-based order that they forged, one that raised billions of people out of poverty and made the world a more prosperous place — not just for one nation’s people, but for people across the globe.”

Future Destroyer Daniel Inouye Begins Builder’s Trials, After Nearly Two-Year Gap In Trials For BIW Ships

Bath Iron Works sent its first ship in two years down the Kennebec River for sea trials, with builder’s trials for the future Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Daniel Inouye (DDG-118) kicking off, the shipyard announced today. Builder’s trials are the first chance for BIW and the Navy to see the ship operating underway and to ensure […]

The future USS Daniel Inouye (DDG-118) conducts builder’s trials in the Kennebec River in Maine, December 2020. Bath Iron Works photo.

Bath Iron Works sent its first ship in two years down the Kennebec River for sea trials, with builder’s trials for the future Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Daniel Inouye (DDG-118) kicking off, the shipyard announced today.

Builder’s trials are the first chance for BIW and the Navy to see the ship operating underway and to ensure all the hull, mechanical and electrical systems are working properly. A crew composed of shipyard workers is sailing Inouye now, and the assigned Navy crew will soon take over the ship for training and acceptance trials in the coming months.

“Sea trials for DDG-118 carried the additional requirement of utmost importance: to protect all riders against transmission of COVID-19 while on board. This challenge was met with an extensive plan and protocols that mirror the robust safety measures taken in the shipyard every day to keep our employees safe,” reads a statement from General Dynamics Bath Iron Works.

The last ship BIW sent out for trials was USS Thomas Hudner (DDG-116), which conducted builder’s trials in March 2018 and acceptance trials in May.

Daniel Inouye’s schedule has slipped repeatedly – a 2018 article from the Honolulu Star-Advertiser noted construction on the ship began in 2014 and that the DDG was supposed to deliver to its Pearl Harbor homeport in 2018, which was pushed to 2020 due to schedule changes at BIW. That 2020 homeport arrival now appears set for 2021, as the ship will have to go through acceptance trials and delivery to the Navy before it can sail from Maine around to Hawaii.

The future USS Daniel Inouye (DDG-118) conducts builder’s trials in the Kennebec River in Maine, December 2020. Bath Iron Works photo.

Since deciding to restart Arleigh Burke construction in 2008, the Navy’s plan had been to award contracts for two hulls a year across two builders: BIW and Ingalls Shipbuilding. In the current multiyear contract, the service has been trying to lobby Congress for money for a third ship a year, which it successfully got in Fiscal Years 2019 and 2020. Though the contracts had been awarded evenly in the previous few years, in Fiscal Year 2018 the Navy awarded two ships to Ingalls and zero ships to BIW, in acknowledgment of the yard’s great backlog and expected difficulty getting new ships delivered on time. In FY 2019 each yard was given one ship and BIW was later awarded the option for a third ship, to help make up for the previous year and keep a steady flow of work. But in FY 2020, the option for the third ship went to Ingalls, even though USNI News understands that BIW offered a better price on the ship – because the Navy cared more about a reliable delivery schedule than it did contract cost.

BIW President Dirk Lesko previously acknowledged the yard is about a year behind in its destroyer production – a combination of previous delays of about six months, plus the effects of this year’s pandemic and the months-long strike by union workers.

“DDG 118 is the first BIW ship to head down the Kennebec River in two years. It represents our future as a shipyard, not just because this ship is an important and much-needed asset for the U.S. Navy fleet, but also because it demonstrates the commitment by our workforce and company management to increase our shipbuilding rate to two ships per year, a crucial part of our Three Year Schedule Recovery Plan that is well underway,” reads the BIW statement.

BIW is trying to dig out of its backlog of work and return to a competitive shipbuilding rate within three years. The Navy’s current multiyear contract will end in FY 2022, and at that point BIW will likely be asked to compete with Ingalls again for another multiyear contract. The Navy had originally planned to end the Arleigh Burke line in 2022 and upgrade to a Large Surface Combatant, but that LSC program has been pushed back repeatedly, and a “DDG Next” large combatant program is now slated to start construction in 2028 – leaving a five-year gap that will almost certainly be filled with another multiyear contract for Arleigh Burkes. If BIW runs into problems implementing its recovery plan, it would have a harder time going into that competition with a strong bid.