Future US Navy destroyer to be named after decorated coast guard officer

Image: US Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sarah Villegas
Image: US Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Sarah Villegas

A future US Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer is set to be named in honour of a US Coast Guard officer who was decorated for his actions in World War II.

The new destroyer will honour Captain Quentin Walsh who was awarded the Navy Cross, the United States’ second highest decoration for valour, for actions that helped ensure the success of the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944.

During World War II, while serving on the staff of the Commander, US Naval Forces, Europe, then-Commander 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 harbour 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 Walsh the Navy Cross and, all told, he accepted the surrender of over 700 German soldiers.

The future USS Quentin Walsh will be constructed at General Dynamics Bath Iron Works. It will have a length of 509 feet (155 metres), a beam of 59 feet (18 metres), and a speed in excess of 30 knots.

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