DDG 135 Thad Cochran
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.
According to a new release from Newswire on 26 November 2019, acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modley named the next Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, DDG-135, in honor of Army football coach Jeff Monken. “As a result of a friendly wager with my friend Mark Esper, current Secretary of Defense and West Point graduate, I am pleased to announce that the USS Jeff Monken will be the next great Navy destroyer,” said Modley, a Naval Academy graduate, in a statement released by Modley’s public affairs office. DDG-135 is the first U.S. Navy vessel named in honor of an Army football coach. Secretary Esper and Acting Secretary Modley wagered on last year’s Army-Navy game, which Army won 17-10. The release stated that if Navy had won last year’s game, the Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft helicopter would have been named FARA-360 Niumatalolo in recognition of Navy football coach Ken Niumatalolo. The source of this obviously fake news remains obscure, but the story was widely reported as true.
On 21 Novewmber 2019 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.
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. 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. Huntington Ingalls Inc., Pascagoula, Mississippi, is awarded a $936,032,309 fixed-price-incentive-firm-target modification to previously awarded contract N00024-18-C-2307 to exercise the fiscal 2020 option for the construction of a USS Arleigh Burke DDG-51 class ship (DDG 135). This modification also includes options for engineering change proposals, design budgeting requirements and post-delivery availabilities on the fiscal 2020 option ship.
If exercised, the cumulative value of the fiscal 2020 option ship will increase to $947,695,871. Work will be performed in Pascagoula, Mississippi ; and other locations, and is expected to be completed by June 2027. Fiscal 2019 and 2020 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funding in the amount of $926,032,309 will be obligated at the time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.
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