The next Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer built at Bath Iron Works will be named after a World War II hero.

Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer said in a statement that the DDG 132 will be named in honor of Coast Guard Capt. Quentin Walsh, who was awarded the Navy Cross for his service during the war. The Navy Cross is the U.S. military’s second-highest award for demonstrating valor in combat.

“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,” Spencer said during a ceremony Thursday, the 75th anniversary of D-Day, aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle in Cherbourg, France.

Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy, the Allied forces operation that launched the successful invasion of German-occupied Western Europe. The French port of Cherbourg was captured by allied forces on June 26, 1944.

“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,” said Adm. Karl Schultz, commandant of the Coast Guard. Schultz accompanied Spencer on board the cutter Eagle.

During World War II, Walsh was given command of a 53-man special task force that was assigned to capture the port of Cherbourg. Despite heavy casualties, Walsh’s force seized port facilities and took control of the harbor the day after they entered the city.

After discovering that a German garrison at Fort du Homet held 52 U.S. Army paratroopers captive, Walsh, under a flag of truce, exaggerated the strength of the forces under his command and convinced the garrison to surrender. Those actions earned him the Navy Cross.

Walsh accepted the surrender of 700 German soldiers during the operation.

Walsh died on May 18, 2000.

According to the Navy, the USS Quentin Walsh will be constructed at Bath Iron Works. The destroyer will be 509 feet long, have a beam of 59 feet, and will be capable of operating in excess of 30 knots.


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