The U.S. Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer announced that a future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer will be named in honor of late U.S. Senator and Navy veteran Thad Cochran.
It is my pleasure to announce that a future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer will be named in honor of U.S. Senator and Navy veteran Thad Cochran. pic.twitter.com/JksmCtP9Gs
— SECNAV76 (@secnav76) November 13, 2019
Cochran, a Pontotoc native, began his military career at the University of Mississippi with the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) program. He was commissioned as an Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve after graduating from the University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
He served on the staff of the Commandant of the Eighth Naval District in New Orleans, Louisiana; taught military law and naval orientation at the Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island; and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He completed his service in the U.S. Navy in 1961.
Cochran went on to serve in the House of Representatives from 1973 to 1978 and represented Mississippi in the U.S. Senate from 1978 to 2018. He was recognized as the 10th longest-serving senator in the history of the United States. He resigned in April 2018 due to health concerns and died on May 30, 2019.
“From his service as a legal officer aboard the heavy cruiser USS Macon, to his dedicated work on behalf of our Sailors and Marines on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Thad Cochran was always a strong advocate for our nation’s defense and a courtly voice for cooperation and civility in American politics,” said Spencer. “We mourned his passing this May, but his legacy will live on wherever this Arleigh Burke-class destroyer may serve.”
While serving as Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate from 2005 to 2007 and from 2015 to 2018, Cochran worked to strengthen the Armed Forces by supporting shipbuilding programs for the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard, other critical Federal organizations, and the military bases and installations in the State of Mississippi and across the United States.
The Secretary of the Navy has sole authority to name Navy vessels. Guided-missile destroyers are currently named to honor members of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard; former secretaries and assistant secretaries of the Navy; and members of Congress closely identified with naval affairs.
Arleigh Burke-class destroyers conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis response to sea control and power projection.
The future USS Thad Cochran will be capable of fighting air, surface, and subsurface battles simultaneously and will contain a combination of offensive and defensive weapon systems to support maritime warfare, including integrated air and missile defense and vertical launch capabilities.
The ships are 509 feet long, have a beam of 59 feet and be capable of operating in excess of 30 knots.
The Arleigh Burke-class vessels are being constructed at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works (GDBIW) in Bath, Maine and Huntington Ingalls Industries’ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi.