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HomeThe SocialNavy's newest destroyer to be christened USS Ted Stevens this week

Navy’s newest destroyer to be christened USS Ted Stevens this week

At a ceremony in Mississippi on Aug. 19, a new U.S. Navy destroyer will be christened with the name of former Alaska U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens.

At the time he left office, Stevens was the longest Republican U.S. senator in history, having served since 1968. Stevens, who served as an Army Air Corps in World War II, was a lifelong advocate for the nation’s military, military men and women, and national security.

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The USS Ted Stevens will be the third vessel in the Flight III series of the Arleigh Burke class of guided-missile destroyers. The destroyers are built around the Aegis Combat System (tracks and guides weapons to destroy enemy targets), and the SPY-1D multi-function passive electronically scanned array radar, according to the description at the christening committee web page.

This class of destroyers is named after Admiral Arleigh Burke, a decorated destroyer officer during World War II and later the chief of Naval Operations.

Ranging in size from 505 to 509.5 feet in length, with a displacement of 8,300 to 9,700 tons, and equipped with over 90 missiles, the Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are larger and more heavily armed than preceding classes of guided-missile cruisers.

The ships have anti-aircraft warfare capabilities with surface-to-air missiles, tactical land strikes via Tomahawk missiles, anti-submarine warfare, anti-submarine rockets, and anti-sub helicopters, as well as anti-surface warfare with over-the-horizon Harpoon missiles.

The lead ship of this class, the USS Arleigh Burke, was commissioned during Admiral Burke’s lifetime on July 4, 1991. Following the decommissioning of the final Spruance-class destroyer, the USS Cushing in 2005, the Arleigh Burke-class vessels remained the sole active destroyers within the U.S. Navy until the introduction of the Zumwalt class in 2016.

The Arleigh Burke class holds the record for the lengthiest production run of any U.S. Navy surface combatant. As of May 2022, 70 of these destroyers are active, with additional units planned for future service. More information at this Ted Stevens Foundation link.

Sponsor of the christening is Sen. Stevens’ widow, Catherine Stevens, a fourth-generation Alaskan who grew up in the territory and then State of Alaska. She has a long history of public service and a legal career that included being the state’s district attorney in Fairbanks. Catherine received presidential appointments to the Eisenhower Memorial Commission and to the board of the Kennedy Center.

Read more about Catherine Stevens’ career at this link.

Ship sponsors are the invited persons who typically has ties to the namesake of the ship and plays a ceremonial role during the christening, launching, and commissioning of a vessel. They are often family members related to the namesake. In 1986, Catherine Stevens was the sponsor for the USS Alaska (SSBN-732), a U.S. Navy Ohio class ballistic missile submarine.

Also sponsoring the ship are Ted Stevens’ daughters Susan Stevens Covich, and Lily Becker. Granddaughter Laura Sexton is matron of honor and grandchildren of Stevens will attend.

The christening will take place in Pascagoula, Mississippi at the Ingall’s Shipbuilding yard, which is one of the leading builders of ships for the Navy.

The ceremony, beginning at 8:30 Central Time (5:30 am Alaska Time), will be streamed live on YouTube at the following link:

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.
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22 COMMENTS

  1. New navy ships mean nothing to me when the enemy is already tearing apart the nation from within.

  2. The Honorable Senator from the Great State of Alaska and Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate, elected as Alaska’s congressman in 1964, after 2 Senate loses goes on to win and maintain as the longest serving Senator in U.S. history., formed ANWR, Legislated into reality the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, Legislated into law The Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation Act, was pro choice, wrong mine wrong place on Pebble, formed the Trans Alaska Pipeline Act and much much more and not before serving in WW11 as air force pilot.
    And now a U.S. Destroyer is named after him. Proud to have shaken hands with this Honorable Man ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • The DIShonerable, arrogant, and ragingly statist Ted Stevens was a disaster of epic dimensions for Alaska, and Alaskans, whose destructive effects will be felt both statewide and nationwide for years to come. His short-sighted and foolish program, and encouragement, of dependency on the federal government and the taxpayers’ dollars is nothing but a legacy of subservience and shame. Ted Stevens was an un-American traitor, and it is a bitter insult to have had his name, that of a SITTING politician, illegally and immorally attached to the Anchorage International Airport, as might happen in some rotten and corrupt third-world nation in a typical act of pandering to its despots.

      • You’re probably not from Alaska or just a very small minority voter that is not of the mainstream. Where are you from?
        Don’t you realize that Ted Stevens did not even have to campaign to defend his seat every 6 years, except when he was wrongful charged (but exonerated) at the very end. Out polled by Begich who gave us Obama care.
        You know that you only have him to thank for the benefits you receive in Alaska including a dividend check and the sacrifice he gave defending our country. Are you sure you didn’t get him mixed up with somebody else? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • And you? You are troll. Uncle Ted was everybody’s senator, and he really loved Alaska and Alaskans. You cannot say that about idiot Murkowski, who is absolutely on the take. The bull the Democrats scraped up proved false, like most things. And you? You speak ill of the dead. Maybe this is not the blog for you.

      • I must most strongly disagree with your hate. Yes, he was a man, and as such is not perfect. Having met him, I must say that his motive for all the pork projects and subsidies was ALWAYS with the goal of creating a self-sufficient and self-sustaining Alaska. He is worthy of the honor given him.

        • Well, Rich, I can only say that I disagree with your apologies for the pork-barreling, budget-busting, taxpayer-fueled big spending of the execrable and arrogant Ted Stevens.

          All of you who think that Ted Stevens was some blessing to Alaska are simply flat-out wrong. You are allowing your short-sighted, perceived self-interest to blind yourselves to the unmitigated harm that the policies, and politics, of Ted Stevens, and those statists like him, did to both this state and to this nation. His legacy is one of fiscal profligacy and federal dependency, and I damn for that, and always have and always will.

          • Whidbey, when you can come up with some semblance of a logical or rational response that is not purely an ad hominem attack, I will respond to it. Until then, you may wallow in your own ignorant arrogance.

      • Jefferson, I understand the logic behind some of your criticisms of Senator Steven’s, however one must consider the times and historical context inwhich Ted Steven’s lived and came to power.

        Suffice it to say, Ted was a tad arrogant in his younger days, comes with being a WWII pilot, Lawyer and his relative height. However it was those same qualities that enabled Uncle Ted to be a force fighting for Alaska.

        Looking back 50 years or more I think it’s important to remember Ted Steven’s accomplishments, Native Land Settlements, Trans Alaska Pipeline and the 200 mile Territorial fisheries enforcement act.
        I think it’s fitting that we honor the man. Mercy, what if Ted had been a shrinking violet?

        • Robert, part of what I damn Ted Stevens for, and which you consider as one of his “accomplishments”, is that abominable Native Claims Settlement Act, whereby the native peoples of Alaska were consolidated into corporations. Corporations! As of we did not have enough oligarchic and corrupt corporatism in this country already. That is merely one, very little discussed aspect of Ted Stevens damnable legacy.

  3. Toilet seats in the heads = $5000 each. At least it will give the crew something to think about at sea………and on the throne.

  4. The Navy is overdue for another Samuel B. Roberts. That’s a name that should be kept going in honor of the WWII ship of that name and the heroism of the crew of the most recent bearer of the name, a Perry class frigate saved by the damage control crewafter hitting a mine. That one was scrapped not all that long ago

  5. When Sen Ted Stevens was Senator, he was leader when Alaska was a young state from another time, and back in the sixties and seventies the state had different needs than today. Since Alaska still dependent upon federal money thatโ€™s of todays generations own fault not Senator Ted Stevens. Its just as todays Natives still fully dependent upon IHS and Medicaid for paying all their health care needs. If the Alaskan community raised their children and raised them differently it was possible of the births of our children during eighties and nineties the kids could had grown up stronger and independent and more articulate to fight for greater control over federally held lands across Alaska.

    • I should had included babes born in seventies and sixties including the boomers those born in fifties. Cause we have four generations after Ted Stevens generation) dependent upon others and our government. Boomers, gen x, millennials, and if gen z donโ€™t start working (and not for any employer dependent on government) then them too.

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