The US Navy’s newest guided-missile destroyer, the future USS Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), and its crew arrived at their new home port of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
The ship completed the 5,000-nautical-mile journey from Bath Iron Works (BIW) in Bath, Maine, to Pearl Harbor on November 18, after wrapping up acceptance trials in February this year.
Named for the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye, the ship was christened by Inouye’s wife Irene on June 22, 2019, at BIW.
“I am incredibly honored to command a ship named after Senator Inouye,” said Cmdr. DonAnn Gilmore, the first commanding officer of Daniel Inouye, “Throughout the sail around, I think the crew represented the courage and service known by the senator.”
Inouye, a Honolulu native, served in the US Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which was primarily second-generation Japanese-Americans, following the attacks on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941. While battling foreign enemies, Inouye was shot twice and lost his left arm during a grenade blast, all while continuing to lead his troops. Inouye was awarded a Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts and Distinguished Service Cross that was later upgraded to the Medal of Honor for his courageous acts and unwavering dedication to service.
“He was both a World War II war hero and a man dedicated to serving his country,” said Gilmore. “He’s the son of Hawaii.”
After his military service, Inouye continued to serve his country in politics. When Hawaii achieved statehood in 1959, Inouye was elected as its first member of the United States House of Representatives. Three years later, he was elected into the US Senate where he served for nearly 50 years until his death in 2012, the second longest serving senator in US history.
During Daniel Inouye’s transit to Hawaii, the ship made port calls to Newport, Rhode Island; Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia; and Naval Station Mayport, Florida. While at sea, the crew completed the ship’s first firearms shoots, missile shoot, underway replenishment and flank speed run, ensuring that the ship and its crew were mission capable prior to arriving.
“If it weren’t for these certification events, we could not become an operational ship,” explained Lt. Jazzmine Ennals, training officer of Daniel Inouye. “Not only to Hawaii, but as a naval asset.”
After departing Naval Station Mayport, Daniel Inouye transited the Panama Canal and made a port call in Manzanillo, Mexico for fuel and supplies before heading for the island of Hilo, Hawaii.
Prior to arriving at Pearl Harbor, located on the island of Oahu, the ship’s crew manned the rails and sailed through the Hawaiian Islands to pay tribute to the memory and legacy of Inouye and his lengthy career of service to the people of Hawaii. The islands of Hilo and Maui will now recognize Nov. 16 as “Daniel Inouye Day.”
Daniel Inouye is the 68th Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer to be delivered to the Navy, and the first ship to bear her name. The commissioning ceremony coincides with the 80th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Commemoration events.
The future USS Daniel Inouye is set to be commissioned on December 8 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii.