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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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.
In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.
A special operations Marine is due in court on March 7 after being arrested last year for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend, Task & Purpose has learned.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Christopher Evans was arrested and charged with assault inflicting serious injury on July 29, 2018, according to Jennifer Dandron, a spokeswoman for police in Wilmington, North Carolina. Evans is currently assigned as a Critical Skills Operator with the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, according to the Marine Corps Personnel Locator.
Following Trump's inauguration, some supporters of ground combat integration assumed he would quickly move to reinstate a ban on women in jobs like the infantry. When this did not happen, advocates breathed a collective sigh of relief, and hundreds of qualified women charted a course in history by entering the newly opened occupational fields.
So earlier this week when the Wall Street Journal published an editorial against women in ground combat by conservative political commentator Heather Mac Donald, the inclination of many ground combat integration supporters was to dismiss it outright. But given Trump's proclivity to make knee jerk policy decisions in response to falling approval ratings and the court's tradition of deference to the military when it comes to policies affecting good order and discipline, it would be unwise to assume the 2016 lifting of the ban on women in ground combat is a done deal.
R. Lee Ermey was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.
Best known for his iconic role as the Marine Corps drill instructor Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in the war drama Full Metal Jacket, Ermey died April 15, 2018 at age 74 due to complications from pneumonia, Task & Purpose previously reported.