Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer named a future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, the DDG 132, in honor of Coast Guard Capt. Quentin Walsh, who was awarded the Navy Cross for his service during World War II.
It is the first time an Arleigh Burke-class Navy ship has been named after a member of the Coast Guard.
“Capt. Walsh was a hero whose efforts during World War II continue to inspire, and his leadership in securing the French port of Cherbourg had a profound effect on the success of the amphibious operations associated with Operation Overlord,” Spencer said in a statement.
Operation Overlord was the codename for the Battle of Normandy. The Allied operation, launched on June 6, 1944, started the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe during World War II.
Spencer made the announcement Thursday alongside Adm. Karl Schultz, the commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, in a ceremony aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle in Cherbourg, France.
The Navy and Marine Corps team and the Coast Guard have sailed side by side for more than two centuries, he said.
“Naming a future Navy destroyer after Capt. Walsh, the first Arleigh Burke-class ship to be named after a Coast Guard legend, highlights not only his courageous actions but the bravery of all U.S. service members involved in the D-Day Invasion of Normandy,” Schultz said.
Walsh was given command of a 53-man special task force assigned to capture Cherbourg. Despite heavy casualties, his small force seized the port facilities and took control of the harbor the day after they entered the city.
After he discovered that the remaining German garrison at Fort du Homet held 52 U.S. Army paratroopers as prisoners, Walsh, under a flag of truce, exaggerated the strength of the forces under his command and persuaded the commanding officer of the remnants of the German garrison to surrender, according to the Navy.
Those actions earned him the Navy Cross. All totaled, he accepted the surrender of more than 700 German soldiers. Walsh died May 18, 2000.
Arleigh Burke-class destroyers conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis response to sea control and power projection.
The future USS Quentin Walsh will be able to fight air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously. It will contain a combination of offensive and defensive weapon systems for maritime warfare, including integrated air and missile defense and vertical launch capabilities.
The USS Quentin Walsh will be constructed at Bath Iron Works, a division of General Dynamics. The ship will be 509 feet long, have a beam of 59 feet and be capable of operating in excess of 30 knots.
The shipyard received the contract for the destroyer in December 2018. The award brings to five the number of Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers awarded as part of a multiyear procurement announced in September 2018.
The Navy awarded $910,723,811 to build the DDG 132, with options that, if exercised, could bring the total to $921,990,345. The ship is expected to be completed by May 2026.