The newest destroyer being built for the U.S. Navy will be named after the late Sen. Ted Stevens, a man whom Alaskans also refer to as Uncle Ted. Stevens died in a plane crash in Alaska in 2010.
The announcement came not from the Navy, but jointly from the offices of Congressman Don Young, and Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan on Friday afternoon.
“It is an honor to help Secretary Spencer announce the naming of the USS Ted Stevens today,” said Sen. Sullivan. “As an Army Air Corps officer, a civil servant, and a historic U.S. Senator from our great state, Senator Stevens remains one of the shining examples of public service to our nation. We Alaskans affectionately called him ‘Uncle Ted.’ However, before he was our U.S. Senator, Senator Stevens bravely flew missions behind enemy lines in the Pacific Theater during WWII, supporting the now famous ‘Flying Tigers.’ I can think of no more fitting tribute than to name DDG-128, a powerful Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, after Ted Stevens. May this ship bearing his name continue his remarkable legacy for decades to come and may her crew gain inspiration for their missions from one of our country’s truly great men.”
“During WWII, Senator Stevens earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Yuan Hai Medal, and the Air Medal for his selfless and brave service as an Army Air Corps pilot. In addition to his notable military career, Senator Stevens was a public servant, a mentor, and a dear friend whose dedication and commitment to Alaska was nothing short of extraordinary,” said Sen. Murkowski. “I commend Secretary Spencer and the U.S. Navy for naming a future Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer, the USS Ted Stevens, in his honor—a remarkable acknowledgement of the service, sacrifice, and life of our Uncle Ted.”
“The Arleigh Burke-class of destroyers is one of the toughest and most capable warfighting tools our Nation produces, characteristics which also define my dear friend, the great Senator Ted Stevens,” said Congressman Young. “It is my honor to join my Senate colleagues and Secretary Spencer in announcing the naming of an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer as the USS Ted Stevens. From his service as a pilot in the Pacific Theater during WWII flying over the Hump, to his fierce advocacy for Alaska and our Nation, Ted always exemplified American patriotism. He dedicated much of his adult life in service to our Nation, and I hope that this ship continues to embody his legacy and its name gives her crew the inspiration needed to fulfill her missions.”
Arleigh Burke-class destroyers conduct a variety of operations from peacetime presence and crisis response to sea control and power projection, according to the Navy. The USS Ted Stevens (DDG 128) will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously, and will contain a combination of offensive and defensive weapon systems designed to support maritime warfare, including integrated air and missile defense and vertical launch capabilities, the Navy said.
The ship will be constructed at Huntington Ingalls Industries’ shipbuilding division in Pascagoula, Miss., where the other destroyers of this class have been built. The ship will be 509 feet long, have a beam length of 59 feet and be capable of operating at speeds in excess of 30 knots.
MORE ABOUT THE DESTROYER
The Arleigh Burke destroyer class is a fighting machine. It’s the Navy’s first class of destroyer built around the Aegis Combat System and certain radar capabilities.
This class of fighting ship is named for Admiral Arleigh Burke, a World War II destroyer officer and later chief of naval operations.
The first ship of the class was commissioned on July 4, 1991, during Admiral Burke’s lifetime. After the Spruance class destroyers were finally decommissioned with the retiring of the last vessel in 2005, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers became the Navy’s only active destroyers, until the Zumwalt class came online in 2016.
The Arleigh Burke class has the longest production run for any post-World War II U.S. Navy surface combatant, and the class has 62 vessels. It has an overall length of between 505 and 509 feet, and its weapons include 90 missiles.