Zumwalt Captain: She’s ‘Like A Very Souped Up SUV’

news
Capt. James A. Kirk, commanding officer of future USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) answers questions from the media during a media tour of the Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer, which was commissioned Oct. 15 during Maryland Fleet Week and Air Show Baltimore.
U.S. Navy photo by Chief Michael O'Day.

Oct. 15 marked the commissioning of the U.S. Navy’s newest and most technologically advanced destroyer. Task & Purpose got to visit the ship during its first public appearance in Baltimore on Thursday.


Capt. James Kirk (his real name) is very excited about his new ship, and her namesake, Elmo “Bud” Zumwalt. Adm. Zumwalt was chief of naval operations in the latter stages of the Vietnam War, and a progressive leader for the Navy in difficult times.

None

Kirk noted that Zumwalt was “a great man, who reformed the Navy to make it a more just institution.” On their cruise from Bath Iron Works in Maine to Baltimore for the commissioning ceremony, the crew stopped in Annapolis and visited the late admiral’s grave at the Naval Academy. They chose the motto “Pax Proctor Vim,” meaning peace through strength in Latin, to honor Adm. Zumwalt. It was the motto of the destroyer Zumwalt commanded.

None

As for the ship itself, Kirk was enthusiastic.

The ship “rides marvellously in all the seas we have experienced,” he told reporters.

Kirk’s chief engineer, Lt. Cdr. Nate Chase, said that during builder’s trials, they rode through 16-foot waves at times, but that the ship handled them better than the Arleigh-Burke-class destroyers that are the backbone of today’s fleet.

“She’s not a Ferrari,” Kirk said. “She’s more like a very souped up SUV.”  

One of USS Zumwalt's MQ-8C Fire Scout autonomous helicopters on board the ship. Guided missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf is in the background.

Zumwalt has a lot of features that will be unfamiliar to crews of other destroyers. The ship’s all-electric propulsion is powered by two primary and two auxiliary generators, which can produce a staggering total output of 78 megawatts.

That’s “enough to power a mid-size city,” Kirk said.

Unlike the DDG-51 class destroyers, Zumwalt has two forward Advanced Gun System 155mm guns, with a high rate of fire and the ability to fire precision-guided munitions.

To give it the lowest possible radar cross-section — one-fiftieth that of the Burke class — the ship has odd shapes and few right angled connections anywhere topside. It also features a “wave-piercing” hull shape that gives it its distinctive inward-sloping “tumblehome.”

None

The ship’s strange looks aren’t the only unusual thing about her. Chase said the ship is built to metric, rather than English, specifications. The metric frame numbers were “a little confusing” for crew members early on.

The most exciting thing for sailors might just be the accommodations. Instead of berthing areas holding 50 people or more, sharing beds in the common but unpleasant practice of “hot bunking,” even the most junior members of Zumwalt’s crew live in four-person staterooms, with their own shower and toilet.

None

In spite of the famous namesake of the Zumwalt’s Capt. Kirk, and in spite of the 78 MW of power available, Chase said Kirk has never once called him “Scotty” or asked for “more power.”

“He’s called me plenty of other things,” Chase said with a smile. “But never that.”

A Marine wanted for killing his mother's boyfriend reportedly escaped police by hiding inside an RV they'd spent hours searching before towing it to a parking lot, where he escaped under the cover of darkness.

It wasn't until more than two weeks later authorities finally caught up to Michael Brown at his mom's home, which was the scene of the crime.

Brown stuffed himself into a tight spot in his camper during an hours-long search of the vehicle on Nov. 10, according to NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia. A day earlier, cops said Brown fatally shot his mother's boyfriend, Rodney Brown. The AWOL Marine remained on the lam until Nov. 27, where he was finally apprehended without incident.

Read More Show Less

No motive is yet known for last week's Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooting tragedy, which appears to have been a random act of violence in which the sailor who fatally shot two civilian workers and himself did not know them and did not plan his actions ahead of time, shipyard commander Capt. Greg Burton said in an "All Hands" message sent out Friday.

Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.

"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.

Read More Show Less
A projectile is fired during North Korea's missile tests in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on November 28, 2019. (KCNA via Reuters)

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it had successfully conducted another test at a satellite launch site, the latest in a string of developments aimed at "restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the U.S.", state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.

The test was conducted on Friday at the Sohae satellite launch site, KCNA said, citing a spokesman for North Korea's Academy of Defence Science, without specifying what sort of testing occurred.

Read More Show Less

Since the Washington Post first published the "Afghanistan papers," I have been reminded of a scene from "Apocalypse Now Redux" in which Army Col. Walter Kurtz reads to the soldier assigned to kill him two Time magazine articles showing how the American people had been lied to about Vietnam by both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations.

In one of the articles, a British counterinsurgency expert tells Nixon that "things felt much better and smelled much better" during his visit to Vietnam.

"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.

Read More Show Less
Erik Prince arrives for the New York Young Republican Club Gala at The Yale Club of New York City in Manhattan in New York City, New York, U.S., November 7, 2019. (REUTERS/Jeenah Moon)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Erik Prince, the controversial private security executive and prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, made a secret visit to Venezuela last month and met Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, one of socialist leader Nicolas Maduro's closest and most outspoken allies, according to five sources familiar with the matter.

Read More Show Less