HONOLULU (AP) - The U.S. Navy plans to name one of its ships after the late U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announced Thursday that an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer will be named the USS Daniel Inouye. Mabus said in a statement from the Department of Defense that another destroyer will be named the USS Paul Ignatius, after a former Navy secretary who served in the late 1960s.
"It is my privilege to name these ships to honor a respected naval leader and a true American hero," Mabus said.
The ships have yet to be built, with a contract to a building yard still pending.
The Navy says the destroyers will be 509 feet long and be able to travel at more than 30 knots.
U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa of Hawaii praised the news as a fitting tribute, saying the class of ship is considered the strongest, most advanced surface ship in the world.
Inouye died in December at age 88.
Hanabusa said Mabus called her Thursday to share the news.
"Secretary Mabus informed me that he had tried to name a ship after (the) senator while he was still alive, and knowing (the) senator, he wanted no part of it," Hanabusa said.
Inouye resisted having buildings and other things named for him while he was alive.
U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, who was appointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie to replace Inouye after Inouye died, said the naming of the ship appropriately honors Inouye's service during World War II and throughout his life.
"Senator Inouye represents what it means to be a public servant, and Hawaii should be proud of this great honor provided by the Navy," Schatz said.
Hanabusa is challenging Schatz in a Democratic primary next year in the first election to fill the rest of Inouye's term.