U.S. destroyer named after Sen. Daniel Inouye commissioned in Hawai‘i


FIRST U.S. NAVY VESSEL NAMED AFTER JAPANESE AMERICAN — The U.S. Navy commissions a new guided missile destroyer named Daniel Inouye in honor of the late U.S. Senator at a ceremony in Hawai‘i on Dec. 8. Kyodo News photo

HONOLULU — The U.S. Navy commissioned Dec. 8 a new guided missile destroyer named Daniel Inouye in honor of the late U.S. Senator at a ceremony in Hawai‘i.

The first U.S. Navy vessel named after an American of Japanese ancestry will have its homeport at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickham.

Inouye, the first Japanese American member of Congress, served as a Hawai‘i representative in the Senate from 1963 until he died in 2012.

“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,” U.S. Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said in a statement.

Referencing Inouye’s World War II service, for which he received a Medal of Honor for bravery, and work in Congress on defense issues, Del Toro said at the ceremony there was “absolutely no more fitting” name for the vessel.

While serving with the 442nd Infantry Regiment Combat Team, a segregated unit comprised of mostly second-generation Japanese Americans, in Italy during World War II, Inouye suffered a shattered arm when a grenade exploded but continued to fight until the regiment’s position was secured.

Inouye was also known for having played an active role in bringing U.S.-Japan relations closer.

“We embody the ship’s motto, a battle cry adopted from Sen. 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,” said Cmdr. DonAnn Gilmore, the destroyer’s commanding officer.

The destroyer, roughly 150 meters long and with a crew capacity of about 330, is equipped with Aegis Baseline 9, a system capable of providing improved integrated air and missile defense capabilities and radar that will quickly detect and react to modern air warfare and ballistic missile threats, according to the Navy.

It was christened by Irene Hirano Inouye, his wife, in 2019 and delivered to the Navy in March this year.

The commissioning ceremony, attended by people including Inouye’s family and Hawai’i Gov. David Ige, came a day after the 80th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

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