SECNAV Names Attack Boat After WWII USS Barb, DDG for Former SECNAV Lehman

October 13, 2020 7:17 PM
Battle flag of USS Barb (SS-220) including the train the crew derailed in an operation to the Japanese home islands in World War II. USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park photo

Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite named the next Virginia-class attack boat after the famed World War II-era submarine USS Barb (SS-220) and a new destroyer after former Navy Secretary John Lehman in a Tuesday ceremony.

Braithwaite announced the two new ship names during an event unveiling plans to construct a new Navy museum in Washington, D.C. The service will call SSN-804, a Virginia-class attack submarine, USS Barb, and DDG-137, an Arleigh Burke-class Flight III destroyer, USS John F. Lehman. Lehman served as the Navy secretary under former President Ronald Reagan.

Former Secretary of the Navy John Lehman

“One of these storied vessels was USS Barb, SS-220, which sank 17 enemy vessels, including an aircraft carrier, and even landed troops to blow up a train on the Imperial Japanese Homeland. She was honored with both a Presidential Unit Citation and a Congressional Medal of Honor for her Commanding Officer Eugene B. Fluckey,” Braithwaite said of the World War II boat in prepared remarks.
“And so today, in grateful memory of the Silent Service Sailors of World War II, and what the record of this great ship meant to the service, I am announcing that the next attack submarine, SSN-804, will be named USS Barb,” he continued.

Braithwaite has told USNI News on multiple occasions that he’s an avid student of naval history and looks to draw lessons from the past to help guide the Navy today. Last week he announced that the first guided-missile frigate would be named USS Constellation (FFG-62), after four previous ships, including one of the Navy’s original six frigates. He told USNI News at the same event that he drew lessons from World War II’s use of light carriers in shaping his views on the future naval fleet and its use of light carriers to supplement nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.

The SECNAV has also repeatedly called Lehman a mentor and personal friend and told USNI News that the upcoming growth in the naval fleet, if a Pentagon plan to grow to 500 ships is executed, would be the most exciting time for the Navy since Lehman led the force in the 1980s.

Braithwaite spoke at an event in the Washington Navy Yard announcing the service’s plans to construct a new U.S. Navy Museum.

The Navy is still working to determine where it will build the museum, but the service hopes to find a spot near the Washington Navy Yard, outside of the base so members of the public can easily visit, according to a Naval History and Heritage Command news release.

The service will work with a non-profit to raise money for the effort, the release said.

Artist’s view of a proposed Navy Museum site near the Washington Navy Yard. US Navy Photo

“The total estimated funds required for the construction of the state-of-the-art facility is $204 million for phase one of the project, with opportunities for spiral development of additional phases totaling $450 million,” according to the release.

The Navy plans to finish the structure by 2025, for the Navy’s 250th birthday, Braithwaite said.

The current National Museum of the U.S. Navy (NMUSN) is inside the Washington Navy Yard base and has become difficult to access over the years due to increased security protocols. The museum previously featured a display ship, former-USS Barry (DD-933), but the Navy removed the decommissioned ship from the pier in 2016 and did not replace it with another decommissioned ship.

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne is a reporter for USNI News. She previously covered the Navy for Inside Defense and reported on politics for The Hill.
Follow @MalShelbourne

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