Bath, ME – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer joined U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and U.S. Representatives Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden to participate in the keel laying ceremony for the USS Carl M. Levin (DDG-120) at Bath Iron Works (BIW).
“From the patriots who defend our freedom to the leaders who guide our nation, our ships bear the names of those who have demonstrated uncommon commitment to America and its values. Senator Carl Levin, who we celebrated today at this ceremony, is a fitting addition,” said Senator Collins. “The men and women of our military must have the most advanced technology, equipment, and ships, and I am proud of the key role the men and women of Bath Iron Works have played in meeting this obligation. Their skill and commitment to excellence go into every ship built here, and I am certain that Senator Levin’s extraordinary commitment to public service and our armed forces will inspire them as they undertake this project.”
“The keel is the backbone of the ship, and that’s what we’re celebrating today – but the keel is only the beginning,” said Senator King. “It takes the men and women of Bath Iron Works to build the ship, and then the men and women of the Navy will have to fulfill their duty and navigate the ship through hazardous waters. It takes a lot of people with dedication, integrity, and courage to turn this keel into the ship that will represent and defend our country across the globe. And there could not be a better, more hardworking person than Senator Carl Levin to serve as the namesake of this great ship from this great shipyard.”
"It’s always an honor to take part in these ceremonies and see up close the great work being done at Bath Iron Works. As the Navy focuses on expanding the fleet in the years ahead, I’m especially glad Secretary Spencer could be here to meet with our shipbuilders and see their quality craftsmanship for himself,” said Congresswoman Pingree. “As always, the Maine delegation stands united in advocating in Washington to keep the shipyard busy and I think we’re in a great position to do so going forward."
"Having the finest tools can be the difference between life and death for our servicemembers,” said Congressman Golden. “The men and women of Bath Iron Works know this, and they take pride in building the finest warships in the world for American sailors. It was an honor to recognize the work of our shipbuilders today and pay tribute to Senator Levin's lifetime of public service."
"From his leadership as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, to his lifetime of support and dedication to the men and women of the United States Military, Senator Carl Levin has consistently worked to make us a stronger nation and a readier force,” said Secretary Spencer. “He's been a tireless advocate for transparency and effective oversight, and knows the importance of ensuring that every single dollar of treasure the American people entrust to us is invested in the most effective manner possible to fulfill our sacred oath. And that is exactly what we're doing here today. The Arleigh-Burke class destroyer that will rise from this keel will deliver a strong return on investment for the American people, with the nimble capabilities to confront the many demands of a changing world, from peacetime presence and crisis response to sea control and the ability to deliver the fight tonight around the world."
The USS Carl M. Levin, an Arleigh Burke-class Flight IIA guided missile destroyer, is named in honor of former U.S. Senator Carl M. Levin from Michigan, a longtime Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Senator Levin and his family attended today’s event.
Today marked Secretary Spencer’s second trip to Maine in less than two years. At the invitation of Senators Collins and King, Secretary Spencer visited BIW in September 2017 so he could see firsthand the excellent work performed by the highly skilled employees at BIW to build and maintain the Navy fleet.
In December, Senators Collins and King and Representative Pingree announced that the Navy had exercised its option under the fiscal years (FY) 2018-2022 multiyear procurement contract awarded in September to build an additional DDG-51 destroyer at BIW.
Senator Collins is a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator King is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Congresswoman Pingree is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, and Congressman Golden is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.