The President announced today that the Navy will honor Navy Adm. Elmo R. "Bud" Zumwalt Jr., by naming its 21st Century Land Attack Destroyer (DD 21) after him. Zumwalt, who became the youngest man ever to serve as chief of Naval Operations (CNO) in 1970, passed away in Durham, N.C., on Jan. 2, 2000. Appropriately, this class of 32 future warships will embody Zumwalt's visionary leadership and well-known reputation as a Navy reformer.
Entering the fleet at the end of this decade, USS Zumwalt will usher in the Navy's newest class of destroyers. These revolutionary warships are being designed to meet post-Cold War requirements using 21st century naval warfare concepts. The Zumwalt class will incorporate several advanced technologies and introduce a number of design features to improve the DD 21 sailor's quality of life.
Armed with an array of land attack weapons, USS Zumwalt will be capable of delivering an unprecedented level of offensive firepower from the sea. It will also be the first U.S. Navy ship to be powered and propelled by a fully integrated power system, including modern electric drive. The cruiser-sized Zumwalt will be manned by a crew approaching one hundred and will feature new habitability standards and shipboard amenities, including staterooms for the entire ship's company.
"DD 21 will be a platform that values its crew more than any other ship on which sailors have ever lived, fought, and worked," said Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig. "It is a fitting tribute to the legacy of Admiral Bud Zumwalt."
Zumwalt was born in San Francisco in 1920 and grew up in Tulare, Calif. He was a cum laude graduate of the United States Naval Academy. After service as the commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Vietnam from 1968-1970, at age 49, he became the youngest four-star admiral in the history of the U. S. Navy. As CNO, Zumwalt initiated wide-ranging reforms in a dramatic effort to revitalize the Navy. Time magazine hailed Zumwalt as "the Navy's most popular leader since World War II." As the Navy's senior officer, he increased the warfighting capabilities of the dwindling U.S. fleet by outfitting remaining ships with more efficient and sophisticated weapons. In 1974, he retired as CNO and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In 1996, he took over as chairman of the Board of the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation.
In addition to numerous decorations received from the U.S. Navy, including the Navy Distinguished Service Medal (three awards), the Legion of Merit (two awards), and Bronze Star with combat "V," he received decorations and awards from a number of foreign countries. In 1998, Zumwalt was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his service to the United States in war and peace.
Zumwalt authored two books about his life in the Navy. On Watch (1976) recounts his Navy career and warns Americans about the Soviet naval threat. My Father, My Son (1986), co-authored with his late son, Elmo III, is an account of their Vietnam experiences and his son's tragic illness.