Christening of the Daniel Inouye (DDG 118)
On May 14, 2018, in Bath, Maine, at the General Dynamics Bath Works shipyard, a special ceremony was held for the Laying of the Keel for the USS Daniel Inouye, a DDG 51 Class Destroyer. The laying of the keel is an age-old tradition. Irene Inouye as the ship’s sponsor, etched her initials to authenticate the keel plate, symbolizing the joining of the ship’s components.
The USS Daniel Inouye will be equipped with an Aegis Baseline 9 Combat System, including an integrated air and missile defense capability. It will be an asset in global maritime security, as well as possess anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capabilities. Senator placed a high priority on readiness and making sure that our men and women of the armed forces had what they needed to train, fight and return home safely to their families. He is definitely smiling down on us, at the thought that his name would be carried forward on as a sophisticated defender and protector of our nation.
On June 21-22, 2019 the DKI ohana gathered in Bath, Maine for the christening of the Navy Destroyer Daniel Inouye (DDG 118), which will arrive in its homeport of Pearl Harbor in early 2021 under the leadership of Commanding Officer CDR DonAnn Gilmore, Master Chief Thomas Mace, and more than 300 sailors. We are honored that the USS Daniel Inouye’s first commander will be a woman.
Just getting to Maine was a monumental task! We deiced that a plastic lei on the Daniel Inouye DDG 188 just would not do, so we went to work. Thanks to support from Brion Chang and his team, 8 segments — feet each, a massive ti-leaf lei (tied to a 1-inch diameter rope), which when assembled stretched 75 feet – a double strand lei. Watch the video below to see the lei being assembled at the shipyard upon our arrival. The shipyard staff was eager to learn how to build the lei, and really enjoyed seeing the beautiful flowers. In addition, we brought 4 dozen lei for dignitaries, together with Big Island Candies, Kauai’s special salt and a host of omiyage for special guests.
A sincere mahalo to all the hearts and hands that came together to make this event possible! The General Dynamics and Navy crews truly went above and beyond to prepare and execute every detail for the weekend. Hawaiian Airlines aided in shipping hundreds of pounds of lei and omiyage to the East Coast, Big Island Candies and our friends on Kauai made sure the aloha spirit was alive and well throughout the festivities. It truly took a village to christen a U.S.S. Destroyer – Hawaiian style.
On the day before the christening, family, friends, former staff and military leaders came together to participate in the traditional Mast Stepping Ceremony.
The mast stepping ceremony has been a tradition in shipbuilding for centuries. In the past, the placement of the mast into the hull, known as “stepping the mast”, signified the moment when a “shell” truly became a ship. Today, the mast stepping ceremony involves placing or welding coins and other significant objects into the mast step of a ship, and is seen as a traditional moment in a ship’ construction which is thought to bring good luck. It is essentially a “Time Capsule” onboard the ship. The practice of placing coins at the step, or base, of the mast during ship construction originated with the ancient Greeks and Romans. The legend states that these coins could be used by the crew, if lost at sea, as payment for safe passage into the afterlife. This old tradition has survived the test of time. Today, coins and other items are placed in the mast of Navy ships to honor the heritage of the ship, her sponsor, and her namesake. The contents of the Mast Stepping Box are sealed until the ship is decommissioned.
Special items linked to Senator Inouye were placed in a box which was welding into the mast of the ship. Charlie Houy shared wonderful stories as he placed the Senator’s Good Conduct medal into the box. Read Charlie’s full speech at the link below.
Ken Inouye did a heartfelt job placing his grandmother’s brooch and family bible. Representatives from the Navy, the Senator’s family, former staff, and friends placed the items in the box during a moving ceremony. We have 2 videos below from this event – the first one is the items that were placed in the box; and the 2nd one shows a some of Senator’s personal history.
Mast stepping items
Senator Inouye’s History
BLAZON / CREST
Senator Inouye’s family worked very closely with the U.S. Navy in designing the ship’s crest. Please be sure to read the details in the “Symbolism” section below. The crest includes some of the proudest moments of Senator’s life.
Shield. Celeste, a chief crested per fess of the first and Or, a pile reversed Azure (Dark Blue), superimposed at tip with a bezant charged with an annulet of eighteen triangles Vert, at base two sugar cane plants saltirewise Proper; all within a diminished border Gules.
Crest. From a wreath of the colors Or and Celeste, two lightning bolts arched chevronwise Celeste (Bluebird), surmounted by an eagle displayed holding in dexter claw a laurel branch, in sinister claw thirteen arrows, bearing the Coat of Arms of the United States, in chief a Medal of Honor neck pad, all Proper.
Supporters. On either side of the shield, a torch palewise Argent (Silver Gray), enflamed Gules.
Motto. A scroll Azure (Flag Blue), doubled Or, with the inscription “GO FOR BROKE” of the last.
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