BATH, Maine (AP) – The future USS Carl M. Levin was christened Saturday by the Michigan senator’s daughters, who simultaneously slammed bottles of sparkling wine against the bow of the warship at Bath Iron Works.
Daughters Erica Levin, Laura Levin and Kate Levin Markel paid tribute to their late father, the longtime chairman of the Armed Services Committee, who died on July 29 at the age of 87 after battling cancer.
Then they waved from the deck of the ship – about 30 feet above the meeting – as a band played “Anchors Aweigh”.
Levin’s cousin, U.S. Representative Andy Levin, D-Mich., said his “Uncle Carl” was “overwhelmed by the honor.”
“I can honestly say that, amid all the accolades he’s received in fifty years of public service, this one meant the most to him, and it really shows his commitment to our nation,” said the congressman, who joined the event by other family members. members, including Carl Levin’s wife Barbara, and Levin’s older brother, former U.S. Representative Sander Levin.
The warship’s namesake served in the U.S. Senate for 36 years and chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee, becoming an expert on defense. Prior to that, he was a lawyer and a member of the Detroit City Council, where he served as president for four years.
He was widely acclaimed by those speaking at the event for his work on behalf of the military, military and veterans.
The current chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, called him a “fearless, selfless leader.” of integrity, intelligence and dedication.”
Others attending the event included Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro, Governor Janet Mills, and Maine’s other U.S. Senator Angus King; and naval officials, including the ship’s future skipper and crew.
It was a smaller than normal ceremony. Due to the pandemic, it was an invitation only event with several hundred guests rather than a typical gathering of several thousand people. Shipbuilders were encouraged to watch a live stream of the event.
While Levin died before Saturday’s milestone, he had visited the shipyard a few times to meet shipbuilders.
He attended a ceremony marking the construction of the ship in 2019, when he and his daughters donned visors and participated in the welding of their names on a plate that went on the ship.
Kate Levin Markel told the crowd that her father’s connection to the ship “kept his spirits high during his last days” and that he even prepared a speech before he died. Another sister, Erica Levin, read the address in which Levin thanked the shipbuilders and spoke of the “incredible honor” of having a ship that bears his name.
The christening of a Navy warship marks a construction milestone. More work needs to be done before sea trials and the navy takes over ownership before formal commissioning. The warship will eventually be stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Arleigh Burke-class destroyers, such as the future USS Carl Levin, are the workhorse of the American fleet.
The 510 meter long destroyers can easily reach 30 knots while simultaneously waging war on enemy ships, submarines, missiles and aircraft. They are also built to withstand chemical attacks.
This story has been corrected to show that sparkling wine, not champagne, was used during the ceremony.