The President has announced his decision to name the 40th ship of the Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer to honor Sen. John Hubbard Chafee of Providence, R.I., (1922-1999). Chafee distinguished himself as a U.S. senator, Navy secretary, Rhode Island governor, and a Marine - with service as both an enlisted man and commissioned officer.
In 1940, Chafee graduated from Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Mass. He received degrees from Yale University in 1947 and Harvard University law school in 1950. Chafee served in the Marines during World War II, spending his 20th birthday on Guadalcanal. In 1951, he was recalled to active service to be a Marine rifle company commander during the Korean War. In 1956, he successfully ran for a seat in the Rhode Island House of Representatives where he was reelected in 1958 and 1960. In 1962, Chafee was elected governor of Rhode Island and named chairman of the National Association of Republican Governors in 1967. He was appointed as secretary of the Navy in 1969. His tenure as secretary was marked by a willingness to make bold decisions and stand by them. Emblematic of this was his decision to elevate Adm. Elmo Zumwalt as chief of naval operations over 33 more senior officers, and his judicious handling of the USS PUEBLO case. In 1976, Chafee was elected to the U.S. Senate and served as chairman of the Senate Committee on Environmental and Public Works. Having made these matters a chief concern, he will long be remembered as a leader on environmental issues.
Arleigh Burke Class destroyers are equipped to operate with battle groups in high-threat environments and conduct a variety of missions, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, in support of national military strategy. They also provide essential escort capabilities to Navy and Marine Corps amphibious forces, combat logistics ships and convoys.
These multi-mission ships are equipped with the Navy's modern AEGIS combat weapons system, which combines space-age communication, radar and weapons technologies into a single platform for unlimited flexibility while operating "Forward...From the Sea." These destroyers replace older, less capable ships that are being taken out of service as the Navy reduces spending while maintaining quality as part of its overall plan to recapitalize the fleet.
The ship will carry Standard surface-to-air missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from forward and aft vertical launching systems; two fully automated, radar-controlled Phalanx close-in weapons systems; Harpoon anti-ship missiles; two torpedo launchers; one five-inch gun; and electronic warfare systems.