June 7 (UPI) — The U.S. Navy has named a future guided-missile destroyer in honor of Quentin Walsh, the first time an Arleigh Burke-class ship will honor a member of the Coast Guard.
Walsh, who died in 2000, was awarded the Navy Cross for his service during World War II.
“Capt. Walsh was a hero whose efforts during World War II continue to inspire, and his leadership in securing the French port of Cherbourg had a profound effect on the success of the amphibious operations associated with Operation Overlord,” Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer said Thursday at a ceremony aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle in Cherbourg, France.
Spencer noted joint work with the Coast Guard.
“For over two centuries, the Navy and Marine Corps team and the Coast Guard have sailed side by side, in peacetime and war, fair weather or foul,” Sencer said. “I am honored the future USS Quentin Walsh will carry Capt. Walsh’s legacy of strength and service throughout the world, and I am proud that for decades to come, this ship will remind friends and adversaries alike of the proud history of our services and the skill and professionalism of all those who stand the watch today.”
The ceremony was held on the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France.
“Naming a future Navy destroyer after Capt. Walsh, the first Arleigh Burke-class ship to be named after a Coast Guard legend, highlights not only his courageous actions but the bravery of all U.S. service members involved in the D-Day invasion of Normandy,” Adm. Karl Schultz, the commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, said at the ceremony.
He added, “we will remain always ready to stand with our brothers and sisters in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.”
Walsh, who was serving on the staff of the commander of U.S. Naval Forces, Europe, was given command of a 53-man special task force assigned to capture the vital port of Cherbourg. His small force seized the port facilities and took control of the harbor the next day. There were heavy casualties.
Then Walsh, under a flag of truce, persuaded the commanding officer of the remnants of the 700-member German garrison at Fort du Homet to surrender after holding 52 U.S. Army paratroopers as prisoners. Walsh had exaggerated the strength of the forces under his command.
The future USS Quentin Walsh, which is designated as DDG 132, is designed to fight air, surface and subsurface battles simultaneously.
Arleigh Burke-class destroyers’ operations include peacetime presence and crisis response at sea control.
The USS Quentin Walsh will be constructed at Bath Iron Works, a division of General Dynamics, in Bath, Maine. The ship will be 509 feet long with a beam of 59 feet and capable of operating in excess of 30 knots.
The class of ships typically include a crew of 329.
Ten Arleigh Burke-class destroyers are under construction and the Walsh is among 12 under contract, according to the U.S. Navy.