DDG 91 Pinckney
The mission of Pinckney will be to conduct sustained combat operations at sea, providing primary protection for the Navy's aircraft carriers and battle groups, as well as essential escort to Navy and Marine Corps amphibious forces and auxiliary ships and independent operations as necessary. DDG 91 will be capable of fighting air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously.
Construction of Pinckney began on March 13, 2000, and DDG 91's keel was laid on July 16, 2001. Upon completion of outfitting, as well as dockside and at-sea testing and crew training, DDG 91 was commissioned USS Pinckney in early 2004, and is homeported in San Diego, Calif., as a member of Destroyer Squadron 23.
The Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer, Pinckney (DDG 91), was christened on Saturday, June 29, 2002, during a 10 a.m. CDT ceremony at Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in Pascagoula, Miss. Mississippi's senior U.S. Senator, The Honorable Thad Cochran, delivered the ceremony's principal address. Henrietta Middleton Pinckney served as sponsor for the ship named for her husband. In the time-honored Navy tradition, she broke a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally christen Pinckney.
The Pinckney (DDG 91) was commissioned on Saturday, May 29, 2004, during a ceremony at the Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, CA. John J. Young, Jr., assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, delivered the ceremony's principal address. Henrietta Middleton Pinckney served as sponsor for the ship named for her husband.
In March 2000 Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig announced his decision to name the 41st ship of the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, "Pinckney."
Pinckney (DDG 91) will honor Navy Cook 3rd Class William Pinckney (1915-1975), recipient of the Navy Cross for his courageous rescue of a fellow crewmember on board USS Enterprise (CV 6) during the Battle of Santa Cruz. When an explosion killed four of the six men at his battle station in an ammunition handling room, Pinckney and the other surviving Sailor attempted to exit through a hatch to the hangar deck above. When the other man grasped the scorching hatch, he fell back unconscious. Despite the suffocating smoke, flames, and gasoline fumes surrounding him, Pinckney carried the Sailor to safety. For his selfless heroism, Pinckney was awarded the Navy Cross.
Pinckney was a 3rd Class officer's cook in part because during his lifetime opportunities were limited for African American Sailors. Pinckney demonstrated extraordinary heroism despite the discrimination he and other black Sailors lived with on a daily basis.
Danzig remarked, "He embodied the Navy's value of selfless service, at a time when the institution under- valued black service members. His willingness to give so much, and sacrifice for an institution which gave him so little, makes these acts for which he earned the Navy Cross that much more heroic."
"The destroyer, DDG 91, will embody the name of William Pinckney very well. Like Pinckney, its relatively small size belies the tremendous feats that it will accomplish. Like Pinckney, the ship will be an individual force, often standing proudly alone for the nation -- yet it is also part of an unbeatable team. And as a warship, USS Pinckney will be an ambassador for American ideals that William Pinckney, through his single act of bravery, helped to strengthen as part of the American experience," said Danzig.
"Any Sailor having the great honor of serving aboard USS Pinckney will be challenged to live up to the ship's great namesake," added Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy MMCM(SW/AW/SS) James L. Herdt. "Petty Officer Pinckney was truly a hero among heroes, and it is the Navy's distinct honor to name a great ship after such a great man. The quality of Sailors we're lucky enough to enjoy today will make Americans proud as the ship sets to sea. Like Petty Officer Pinckney, USS Pinckney and her crew will always stand for what's right, even when doing so is not easy."
Former Chief of Naval Operations, the late Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, said in the early 1970s, "There is no black Navy, no white Navy -- just one Navy -- the United States Navy." There will soon be another United States Ship to solidify those words, USS Pinckney (DDG 91).
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