NAWILIWILI — The USS Daniel Inouye is almost home following its departure from the Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine seven months ago.
“The crew, all 330 of them, haven’t been home for seven months,” said Jack Shriver of the Navy League that helped coordinate the gathering of dignitaries and guests to witness the sail by Nawiliwili en route to the destroyer’s homeportPearl Harbor Wednesday. “The crew will be home in time for the holidays, and there are plans for homecoming celebrations.”
The sail by, taking place in Hilo, Hawai‘i, and Maui on Monday is part of the Navy’s honoring the islands before the newest guided-missile destroyer, the future USS Daniel Inouye (DDG 118) gets to its homeport of Pearl Harbor.
The ship will be commissioned in December and is named for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami taking the opportunity to declare Wednesday as Daniel K. Inouye Day in recollecting and paying tribute to the many accomplishments of the late Hawai‘i-born senator.
“I am incredibly honored to command a ship named after Sen. Inouye,” said Cmdr. DonAnn Gilmore, who communicated with Cmdr. Kevin Dore, and Mayor Kawakami via cell phone as the ship parked outside Nawiliwili Harbor off the Ninini Point Lighthouse. “The crew shows many of his traits. He was both a World War II war hero, and a man dedicated to serving his country. He is the son of Hawai‘i.”
Dave Haile, the ship’s executive officer, compared the work ethic and determination of the sailors aboard the Daniel Inouye to the likes of the ship’s namesake.
“The sailors here, and the crew, emulate his legacy of service and sacrifice,” Haile said in a Navy release. “These sailors are selfless.”
The U.S. Navy has a significant history with the state of Hawai‘i where it is home to the sailors entombed in the Arizona Memorial, and the ship’s leaders understand the significance of sailing aboard a ship named after someone who embodied Hawai‘i’s warrior spirit, the release said.
The future USS Daniel Inouye is scheduled to be commissioned in Pearl Harbor in December as part of events and ceremonies marking the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.
Source: The Garden Island