Maui Veterans and Dignitaries Greet the Future USS Daniel Inouye
The Nisei Veterans Memorial Center in Wailuku hosted a viewing event Tuesday afternoon for a handful of veterans and dignitaries, honoring the arrival of the future USS Daniel Inouye (DDG 118) as it visited Maui prior to taking up residence on Oʻahu.
The vessel will be commissioned on Dec. 8, a day after the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the US into World War II. It is on a two-day voyage around the Hawaiian Islands, with a stop at Nāwiliwili on Kauaʻi today before arriving at its new homeport, Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam on Thursday.
The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer is named in honor of Daniel Inouye, who served as a US Senator for Hawaiʻi from 1963 until his death in 2012. He was awarded the Medal of Honor on June 21, 2000, for his extraordinary heroism in combat during World War II. He served with the legendary 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Italy.
Jill Tokuda of the Daniel K. Inouye Institute welcomed dignitaries to Tuesday evening’s celebration, including Mayor Michael Victorino, Nisei veterans and Navy officers.
“It was an honor to witness this historic event,” Mayor Victorino said. “The USS Daniel Inouye will forever be a reminder of the service of our Nisei veterans during World War II and the legacy of Senator Inouye’s leadership in Hawaiʻi and in the nation’s capital. This is a very proud day for the Aloha State and for the people of Maui County.”
During the event, Mayor Victorino and Commander Kevin Dore spoke with Commanding Officer Don Ann Gilmore aboard the future USS Daniel Inouye in a ship-to-shore phone call.
US Navy Veteran, Nathan Ostrander was among those who ventured out to witness the vessel as it passed in Kahului.
“As the sun began to set, people from all over the island flocked to the shores of Kahului Bay to take a moment to enjoy the spectacle, as the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer sailed by with her crew manning the rails in full dress white uniforms,” he said.
“People from all walks of life were in attendance, including multiple US Navy veterans and retirees to witness a once in a lifetime experience, as the new ship made her way by in honor of the islands and the service that the late Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawai’i, the people took pictures and tweeted the experience. In honor of those who have served, those who are serving still, and especially those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to their country, wishing you fair winds and following seas,” said Ostrander.
The future USS Daniel Inouye reports to Commander, Destroyer Squadron 31, which is responsible for direct oversight of the training, maintenance, and readiness of multiple surface combatants.