US Navy names Arleigh Burke-class destroyer after Battle of Cherbourg hero

A graphic illustration of the future Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Quentin Walsh (DDG 132). Photo: US Navy

DDG 132, the US Navy’s 82nd Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, will be named in honor of Coast Guard Capt. Quentin Walsh, who 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 announcing the destroyer name.

Spencer made the announcement alongside Adm. Karl Schultz, the commandant of the US Coast Guard, in a ceremony aboard the US Coast Guard cutter Eagle in Cherbourg, France.

“We are grateful to the US Navy and Sec. Spencer for honoring one of our Coast Guard heroes, Capt. Quentin Walsh,” Schultz said. “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 US service members involved in the D-Day Invasion of Normandy.”

“The US Navy and Coast Guard legacies are interwoven as reflected in the heroic actions of Capt. Walsh and the Navy Sailors under his command during the liberation of Cherbourg,” the commandant continued. “We will remain always ready to stand with our brothers and sisters in the US Navy and Marine Corps.”

During World War II, while serving on the staff of the Commander, US Naval Forces, Europe, then Cmdr. Walsh was given command of a 53-man special task force assigned to capture the vital port of Cherbourg. Despite heavy casualties, his small force seized the port facilities and took control of the harbor the day after they entered the city.

After he discovered that the remaining German garrison at Fort du Homet held 52 US Army paratroopers as prisoners, Walsh, under a flag of truce, exaggerated the strength of the forces under his command and persuaded the commanding officer of the remnants of the German garrison to surrender. These actions earned him the Navy Cross and, all told, he accepted the surrender of over 700 German soldiers. Walsh died May 18, 2000.

The future USS Quentin Walsh (DDG 132) will be the seventh Flight III Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, equipped with the new AN/SPY6(V)(1) Air and Missile Defense Radar. USS Quentin Walsh will be constructed at Bath Iron Works, a division of General Dynamics in Bath, Maine.

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