Military


SSN 785 John Warner

The secretary of the Navy announced January 08, 2009 that the next Virginia-class attack submarine will be named in honor of recently retired Virginia Senator John Warner. Warner retired Jan. 3, 2009, after 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate. The USS John Warner will be built by Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Newport News, Va., in partnership with General Dynamics/Electric Boat Corporation. Warner was instrumental in developing this construction teaming arrangement concept which was later codified into law.

The USS John Warner, honors Warner's lifetime of service to the nation and the Commonwealth of Virginia. John Warner was born in Washington, D.C., February 18, 1927; attended schools in Washington, D.C. and Virginia; graduated, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Va. 1949; graduated, University of Virginia Law School 1953; cattle farmer; admitted to the Washington, D.C. bar in 1953 and commenced practice the same year; law clerk, United States Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit 1953-1954; assistant United States attorney 1956-1960.

Sen. Warner's career in public service began in Jan. 1945, the last year of World War II, when he enlisted at the age of 17 in the U.S. Navy, where he earned the rank of Petty Officer 3rd class. In the Fall of 1949, he joined the Marine Corps Reserve. At the outbreak of the Korean War in Oct. 1950, he volunteered for active duty and was commissioned in the U.S. Marine Corps and served with the 1st Marine Air Wing as a ground communications officer in Korea. He continued his affiliation with the Marine Corps Reserve, reaching the rank of captain.

In February 1969 John Warner was appointed and confirmed by the Senate as Under Secretary of the Navy, and succeeded Secretary John Chafee as the 61st Secretary of the Navy in 1972 following Senate confirmation during the height of the war in Vietnam. During this period, John Warner was designated as chief negotiator for the conference between the U.S. and Soviet navies which led to the Incidents at Sea Agreement which is still in effect today.

Meanwhile he married Catherine Mellon, the granddaughter of legendary billionaire Andrew Mellon. Three years after their 1973 divorce, he married Elizabeth Taylor, the violet-eyed Hollywood movie star, a union which lasted six years. The couple married 04 December 1976 [and later divorced 07 November 1982].

Entering politics in 1978, John Warner was elected to represent the Commonwealth of Virginia in the U.S. Senate. When he took his seat in the US Senate, he was the rakish husband of Elizabeth Taylor with movie star looks of his own, a gentleman's drawl and a farm in Virginia horse country. He became "the senator from central casting."

When Elizabeth Taylor was a Senate wife, and she came to the Capitol, everybody would find an excuse to go downstairs to take a look. Back when Senator Mansfield was leader, Elizabeth Taylor was invited to his Leader's office for a luncheon. She went around there and they said the story was a lot of the Senators who were going to be guests at Senator Mansfield's luncheon told their staffs not to bother them at all! It was like a lot of little boys parading in to see her. Taylor contended that, to her, love was synonymous with marriage -- thus her seven husbands: Nicky Hilton, Michael Wilding, Mike Todd, Eddie Fisher (1959-1964), Richard Burton (1964-1976; remarried 1975-1976), John Warner (1976-1982) and Larry Fortensky (1991-1996). All her marriages, but the one to Todd, ended in divorce [third husband Todd died in a plane crash].

In her 2008 memoir Audition, Barbara Walters was surprisingly candid: about her older sister's retardation, her father's suicide attempt, her midlife affairs (including ones with John Warner - before and after his marriage to Elizabeth Taylor - and a very married Edward Brooke, the first African-American elected to the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction).

Senator Warner served five consecutive terms, becoming the 2nd longest serving U.S. Senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia in the 218-year history of the Senate. Senator Warner served for 14 years on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, including two years as vice chairman. In the mid-1990s, when some called for major cuts to intelligence after the Cold War, he advocated a cooling off period that would allow for a careful review of U.S. capabilities. A frequent visitor to CIA headquarters, Senator Warner has been an active consumer of intelligence, starting out briefings by telling analysts, "We are all equals here."

In May 2004 he took then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to task in a hearing on abuse of Iraqis in the Abu Ghraib prison. A year later he took on the White House and the Pentagon over policies which allowed harsh treatment of detainees that critics said amounted to torture.

During his 30 years of service in the Senate, Warner was a leader in national defense issues serving continuously on the Senate Committee on Armed Services. He held leadership roles as chairman or ranking member for half of his tenure on this committee. In this capacity, and throughout his career, he had shown "unwavering support for the men and women of the armed forces", and had been a "champion of modernizing the structure and operations of the military to ensure its effectiveness in the 21st century".

Speaking to John's honor, one of John's staff members used to comment that John Warner is a Senator who happened to be from Virginia. What he meant is that John always looks for the course of action that is in the Nation's interest and in the interest of our national security, as well as in the interest of his beloved Virginia.

Senator Carl Levin said "John Warner has embodied the qualities that are our Nation's national greatest honor--integrity, independence, fairness, civility, and strength. Throughout his lifetime of service, he has been an unyielding advocate for causes and policies that embody those qualities. In all of his work, he has upheld the tradition of the distinguished and valuable leaders and patriots from Virginia who have shaped our country over the last three centuries. That is what our country needs in the Senate, and that is what our country expects from the Armed Services Committee. On so many occasions, when important issues arose on a variety of matters which required bipartisan solutions, the search for a partner began and ended with John Warner."

In August 2007, John Warner announced his plan to retire from the United States Senate upon completion of my fifth term of service in January 2009. He said his decision to retire was not easy, and in making it, that he was guided by the wisdom of Thomas Jefferson, who once said, "There is a fullness of time when men should go, and not occupy too long the ground to which others have the right to advance."

In 2008, Virginia voters endorsed Democrat Mark Warner to replace Republican John Warner [no relation] in the United States Senate. Mark Warner served as Governor of Virginia from 2002-2006. Warner helped co-found the cellular telephone company Nextel. In 2001, Mark Warner was elected Governor of Virginia. Virginia has tended to vote Republican but in recent years had begun to shift back to Democrats.

This next-generation attack submarine will provide the Navy with the capabilities required to maintain the nation's undersea supremacy well into the 21st century. It will have enhanced stealth, sophisticated surveillance capabilities and special warfare enhancements that will enable them to meet the Navy's multi-mission requirements.

The USS John Warner will have the capability to attack targets ashore with highly accurate Tomahawk cruise missiles and conduct covert long-term surveillance of land areas, littoral waters or other sea-based forces. Other missions include anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare; mine delivery and minefield mapping. It is also designed for special forces delivery and support, a subject Warner worked on throughout his career in the U.S. Senate.

The Virginia-class is 7,800-tons and 377 feet in length, has a beam of 34 feet, and can operate at more than 25 knots submerged. It is designed with a reactor plant that will not require refueling during the planned life of the ship - reducing lifecycle costs while increasing underway time.




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