Ingalls Christens 20th Destroyer - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

1/11/03

Ingalls Christens 20th Destroyer

Ingalls's 20th Aegis guided destroyer is launched and on-deck to be used by the navy. Hundreds of people came to Pascagoula Saturday morning for the official christening. The new ship is named Chung-Hoon, in honor of Rear Admiral Gordon Paiea Chung-Hoon, whose leadership after a deadly kamikaze attack earned him the navy cross.

For the navy's newest ship, family and friends, shipbuilders, sailors and guests came to christen the vessel. With the navy's top admirals by her side, Chung-Hoon's niece, Michele broke the bottle. Breaking Bottle 

"At this point in America we need something like this, it was very enriching.... It's still on me, I can still smell the champagne, I'm taking it home with me," Michelle Chung-Hoon said.

"I had always wanted to be in the navy when I was a kid. I was an NROTC kid in college, so to be here and to be with a ship that's going to carry Gordon-Paiea's name is just an incredible honor for me," Gordon Chung-Hoon's stepson Perry White said.

Christenings are special to the family of the namesake and to our local shipbuilders as well.

"I am particularly proud of today of the hundreds of employees here from Ingalls operations in Pascagoula are responsible for building, for what I think you will recognize as a beautiful ship," Northrop Grumman Ship Systems president Dr. Phillip Dur said.

More than two million work hours have already gone into this ship and another and another one million are still needed. Once completed this ship will be home ported in Chung-Hoon's home state of Hawaii, at Pearl Harbor.

"We hope the ship ends up in Pearl Harbor, the reason I worked so hard to get here was because of the relationship Admiral Chung-Hoon has with the pacific fleet and Hawaii," US Navy Pacific Fleet Commander, Admiral Walter Doran said. 

"Very great, very proper, very good thing. And I think a lot of it will carry the spirit of paiea, in Hawaiian that's a hard shelled crab... and it's a name that's phone in our generations.  It's a name that we've carried and a legacy that we've carried, a legacy and a spirit that I feel as Paiea that is embodied in this ship and carried by it," Gordon Chung-Hoon's nephew Bob St. Claire said.

A spirit Admiral Chung-Hoon's family says will help our sailors in uncertain waters. 

Ingalls is under contract to build eight more Aegis destroyers for the Navy.

By Nathan Mihelich

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