BATH, Maine – On Monday, May 14, General Dynamics Bath Iron Works celebrated the keel laying of the future USS Daniel Inouye (DDG 118). The U.S. Navy named the ship in honor of Sen. Daniel Inouye, a Medal of Honor recipient for heroism during World War II. Sen. Inouye represented Hawaii in the U.S. Senate for 50 years and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


Irene Hirano Inouye, wife of the late senator, is the ship’s sponsor. A special steel plate containing her initials was prepared for the ceremony. Assisted by Frank Wood, a 31-year Bath Iron Works welder, the sponsor authenticated the laying of the keel by striking welding arcs onto the steel plate.


DDG 118 is over half completed and the 3,000-ton keel unit was moved onto the building ways from the shipyard’s Ultra Hall earlier this year. This signifies the start of hull integration and the pre-cursor to integration, test and trials.


Ed Kenyon, DDG 51 Program Manager for Bath Iron Works, hosted the ceremony and welcomed the audience of Bath Iron Works employees, Navy personnel and representatives of other major subcontractors in the program, as well as the ship’s sponsor.


“This unit is a massive example of what we can accomplish here at Bath Iron Works, with people working together in a great enterprise,” Kenyon said. “Over the coming months, we will continue to apply the knowledge and expertise honed over the decades. Daniel Inouye will be a true and steady vessel, the pride of our Navy.”


Mrs. Inouye said her late husband worked hard as a senator to ensure our military had the most formidable equipment. She said the ship named for her husband would be a fitting tribute.


“It will really leave a legacy for the senator and for the many things he stood for, most notably the fact that this country believes in democracy and all that we need to do to protect it,” she said.


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