The late Sen. Daniel Inouye was a 17-year-old senior at McKinley High School in Honolulu, Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941, when Japan attacked the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor. He rushed to a Red Cross station to help sailors and civilians who were wounded in the raid.
On Tuesday, the 80th anniversary of the “day that will live in infamy,” the Navy will commission the future USS Daniel Inouye in honor of the man who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his WWII service in Italy with the famed 442nd Infantry Regimental Combat Team. Nicknamed the “Go For Broke” regiment, the 442nd was a segregated unit composed of Japanese-Americans, many of whom volunteered even after being sent to internment camps after Pearl Harbor.
Inouye represented Hawaii in the U.S. Senate from 1963 until his death in 2012.
“The late Senator Daniel Inouye spent his entire life in public service, both in uniform and out,” said Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro, who will officiate the commissioning ceremony of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. His “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.”
In April 1945, then-Army Lt. Inouye was grievously wounded while leading an attack on a heavily-defended German strongpoint in Italy. An exploding grenade shattered his right arm during the assault but he refused evacuation despite the intense pain. He remained at the head of his platoon, repelling enemy attacks until his regiment’s position was secured.
The destroyer has a crew of 329 officers and enlisted sailors. It is nearly 510 feet long and equipped with improved air and missile defense capabilities. It is capable of quickly detecting and reacting to modern air warfare and ballistic missile defense threats. The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers are the backbone of the Navy’s surface fleet, officials said in a statement.
Inouye‘s wife died in April 2020. The couple’s granddaughter, daughter-in-law and Inouye‘s former chief-of-staff will give the order to “man our ship and bring her to life,” during the commissioning ceremony.
The USS Daniel Inouye won’t have far to go after Tuesday’s ceremony. Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam will be the destroyer’s home port.