PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy welcomed USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) into the fleet Sept. 18 at a commissioning ceremony on Ford Island.
Approximately 75 members of Adm. Gordon Paiea Chung-Hoon's family were on hand for the ceremony honoring the Hawaii native. In addition, several hundred members of the crew's family and friends were in the audience. Local Sailors also attended to welcome their newest shipmates to Hawaii.
"This is truly a great day for the United States, for the United States Navy, for the State of Hawaii and, I know, for the Chung-Hoon family," said Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet Adm. Walter F. Doran. "I'm confident the officers and men of this ship will be ready for any challenge."
The commissioning ceremony paid homage to Adm. Chung-Hoon's combined Chinese and Hawaiian ancestry. Lion dancers from Lung Kong Physical Culture Club were on hand to entertain several hundred assembled audience members. The Halau Hula Ohana was also a part of the cultural celebration for the assembled crew, family and friends of the ship. The Honolulu Boy's Choir performed a section of songs, including America the Beautiful, God Bless America and a medley of service songs.
Among the special guests were Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye and Hawaii governor Linda Lingle. Inouye spoke about the importance of the ship and of the crew to the safety and security of the nation and the state of Hawaii.
"While the Chung-Hoon is a powerful ship, replete with advanced technology and weapons systems, we depend on the crew," he said. "As I look out at the men and women here, we can be assured that our future is in good hands. I'm confident they will do honor to the ship's namesake, and I proudly welcome you all to the great state of Hawaii."
Lingle expressed her pride in being a part of the commissioning ceremony, and her admiration of Adm. Chung-Hoon, his namesake ship and the crew that will serve aboard.
"I want you to know I speak on behalf of all the people of the state of Hawaii when I tell you how proud I am of Gordon Paiea Chung-Hoon, who risked his life to save so many of his crew, and how proud I am to welcome you, the crew, today," she said. "Our state is proud to do our part for the Navy, and we're proud to have this ship named for one of our own."
Following the addresses by the speakers, Doran placed the ship in commission.
Chung-Hoon's crew rushed aboard the ship, fired air from the torpedo tubes, blew smoke from the stacks and swiveled the 5-inch guns to show she was now in service.
"We sit here surrounded by history," remarked Cmdr. Kenneth Williams, Chung-Hoon's commanding officer. "We are ready to serve with our brothers and sisters in the Navy. It is an honor to be a part of the future as we write a new chapter of the Navy in Hawaii here aboard USS Chung-Hoon."
After the ceremony, the audience had the chance to tour the ship and see Hawaii's newest naval asset for themselves. The assembled crew felt the event was a success.
"I feel all the hard work we put into it really paid off," said Gas Turbine Systems Technician (Mechanical) 1st Class (SW) Joseph Iriarte, of Lompoc, Calif. "There is a lot of pressure to perform, though, with the ship being named for Adm. Chung-Hoon, but I know we'll all rise to the challenge."
The ship honors Rear Adm. Gordon P. Chung-Hoon, born in Honolulu, July 25, 1910. He is a recipient of the Navy Cross and Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary heroism as commanding officer of USS Sigsbee from May 1944 to October 1945. In the spring of 1945, Sigsbee assisted in the destruction of 20 enemy planes while screening a carrier strike force off the Japanese island of Kyushu.
On April 14, 1945, while on radar picket station off Okinawa, a kamikaze crashed into Sigsbee, reducing her starboard engine to five knots and knocking out the ship's port engine and steering control. Despite the damage, then-Cmdr. Chung-Hoon valiantly kept his antiaircraft batteries delivering "prolonged and effective fire" against the continuing enemy air attack, while simultaneously directing the damage control efforts that allowed his ship to make port under her own power. Chung-Hoon retired in October 1959 and died in July 1979.
"It feels good to be on a ship named for a Navy hero," said Seaman Apprentice Joshual Thurman, of Atlanta, Ga. "I know we will do our best to live up to his name."
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