Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer announced two future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers will be named in honor of the late Sen. Richard G. Lugar and late Sen. Thad Cochran, both Navy veterans.
Lugar served in the Navy 1957-1960 and represented Indiana in the Senate for 36 years. He died April 28.
“Senator Lugar dedicated his life to his country, first through service in the U.S. Navy then through service in Congress,” Spencer said. “I am honored to name a future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer after him. It is fitting this class of ship should bear Senator Lugar’s name, just as he served under Admiral Burke in life. This ship and her crew will continue his legacy of service, safeguarding the safety and security of America and her allies all over the world.”
Lugar attended Officer Candidate School in Rhode Island, with follow-on training in Florida, before serving as an intelligence briefer for Adm. Arleigh Burke, the chief of naval operations at the time.
As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lugar was a co-creator of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which provided funding and expertise to secure and dismantle nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and delivery systems around the world. In recent years, funding provided through the program has focused on export and border control programs and on the detection of radiological weapons.
In 2013, Lugar was awarded the presidential medal of freedom.
Cochran was commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1959 after graduating from the University of Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and completed his service in the U.S. Navy in 1961.
He served on the staff of the Commandant of the Eighth Naval District in New Orleans, Louisiana; taught military law and naval orientation at the Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island; and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve.
Cochran went on to serve in the House of Representatives from 1973 to 1978 and represented Mississippi in the U.S. Senate from 1978 to 2018. He was recognized as the 10th longest-serving senator in the history of the United States.
“From his service as a legal officer aboard the heavy cruiser USS Macon, to his dedicated work on behalf of our Sailors and Marines on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Thad Cochran was always a strong advocate for our nation’s defense and a courtly voice for cooperation and civility in American politics,” said Spencer. “We mourned his passing this May, but his legacy will live on wherever this Arleigh Burke-class destroyer may serve.”
While serving as Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate from 2005 to 2007 and from 2015 to 2018, Cochran worked to strengthen the Armed Forces by supporting shipbuilding programs for the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, other critical Federal organizations, and the military bases and installations in the State of Mississippi and across the United States.
The Secretary of the Navy has sole authority to name Navy vessels. Guided-missile destroyers are currently named to honor members of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard; former secretaries and assistant secretaries of the Navy; and members of Congress closely identified with naval affairs.
Arleigh Burke-class destroyers conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis response to sea control and power projection.
The future USS Thad Cochran will be capable of fighting air, surface, and subsurface battles simultaneously and will contain a combination of offensive and defensive weapon systems to support maritime warfare, including integrated air and missile defense and vertical launch capabilities.
The ship will be 509 feet long, have a beam of 59 feet, and be capable of operating in excess of 30 knots.