Navy to Commission Destroyer Zumwalt (See in Action)

The Navy will commission the destroyer Zumwalt (DDG 1000), today, during a 5 p.m. EDT ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland.

The ship is named in honor of Adm. Elmo R. “Bud” Zumwalt Jr., former chief of naval operations (CNO) from 1970 to 1974. A veteran of World War II and the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, Adm. Zumwalt exemplified honor, courage and commitment during 32 years of dedicated naval service, earning a Bronze Star with Valor for his actions during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. He passed away in 2000 at the age of 79.

Adm. Elmo R. 'Bud' Zumwalt Jr.
Adm. Elmo R. ‘Bud’ Zumwalt Jr.

During his time as CNO, Adm. Zumwalt embraced technological innovation and advocated a number of successful programs including the Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate, the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine and the F-14 Tomcat, all of which yielded long-term benefits to the warfighting readiness of the Navy.

Perhaps most importantly, Adm. Zumwalt was a social reformer who recognized the primary force-multiplier of the U.S. Navy continued to be its sailors, and as such, began quality of life improvements throughout the fleet, including the institutionalization of equality for minorities and women.

He was considered a “thinking officer” who was devoted to sailors and creating an environment where everyone was treated equally – a legacy that can be seen today in the diversity of the fleet.

His “one Navy” mentality reminds today’s sailors that taking care of our warfighters ensures the Navy remains tough, bold and ready.

(See the USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) in Action! Courtesy of the U.S. Navy and YouTube)

The Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, will deliver the ceremony’s principal address. Ann Zumwalt and Mouzetta Zumwalt-Weathers, daughters of Adm. Zumwalt, and the ship’s co-sponsors, will give the order to “man our ship and bring her to life!” in accordance with naval tradition.

Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy
Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy

“DDG-1000 is one of the most innovative and technologically-advanced ships our Navy has built and it is this spirit of innovation, this commitment to forward thinking and the ability of our Navy and its sailors to see beyond the horizon that we honor as we commission the USS Zumwalt,” said the Honorable Ray Mabus, secretary of the Navy.

“Just as DDG-1000 is the first of its class, so too was Adm. Elmo Zumwalt.”

Zumwalt is the lead ship of a class of next-generation multi-mission destroyers designed to strengthen naval power.

The ships are capable of performing critical maritime missions and they enhance the Navy’s ability to provide deterrence, power projection and sea control. Stealthy, powerful and lethal, Zumwalt’s integration into the fleet will provide a vital link from the Navy’s current needs to its future capabilities.

The Zumwalt-class is much larger than today’s destroyers, fielding a considerably larger flight deck and aviation facility – space to operate with F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, MV-22 Ospreys, and unmanned systems to execute a wider array of surface, aviation, and undersea missions that deliver more manpower, firepower, and computing power to the fight.

(Destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. Destroyers can operate independently or as part of carrier strike groups, surface action groups, amphibious ready groups, and underway replenishment groups. Courtesy of the U.S. Navy and YouTube)

Zumwalt’s Vertical Launch System (VLS) – one way the ship will be able to fight and defend itself – features VLS cells physically larger than similar cells on today’s ships, allowing this class to fire larger and more advanced land and anti-ship missiles in the future.

In addition to its size, the Zumwalt-class will be the first Navy warships to utlilize an integrated power system that will produce large amounts of power that run current systems but are also capable of powering future weapons, computing and sensor systems.

The Zumwalt generates approximately 78 megawatts of power – nearly what a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier generates. This means the ship can operate all of its systems and still generate enough electricity to power a small town.

Providing extra capacity to accommodate and defend against future, and increasingly available, weapons and computing systems – without extensive redesign or impeding the ship’s performance – will reduce future costs and extend this class of ship’s time on station.


Combined with its size and power, Zumwalt will be able to integrate emerging technologies and new capabilities such as advance weapons systems like rail guns and lasers, enhanced radar and sensor systems and advanced missiles.

The ship will be crewed by 147 officers and enlisted personnel and a 28-person aviation detachment.

The 15,995-metric ton Zumwalt was built at Bath Iron Works in Bath, Maine. The ship is 610 feet in length and has an overall beam of 80.7 feet and a navigational draft of 27.6 feet.

Two main turbine generators and two auxiliary turbine generators and two 33.6 megawatt advanced induction motors power the ship to sustained speeds of 30 knots.
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