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'He truly was a senator's senator': Carl M. Levin destroyer christened at Bath Iron Works

The newest U.S. Navy Arleigh destroyer is named after Michigan's longest-serving U.S. Senator. Maine Sens. King, Collins, and Governor Mills honored his legacy.

BATH, Maine — The future U.S.S. Carl M. Levin guided-missile destroyer was christened in front of a relatively small crowd at Bath Iron Works Saturday. The newest ship in the U.S. Navy's fleet was named after Michigan's longest-serving U.S. Senator.

Levin was the longtime chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and served in Congress with Maine's Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins. Maine Governor Janet Mills and Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro also spoke at the ceremony. 

Credit: NCM

"[Levin] left such an aspiring legacy that will include this magnificent ship," Collins said at the podium. “He truly was a senator’s senator.”

King said Levin "took him under his wing" when he arrived in the Senate in 2013. The two traveled p to the Middle East early in King's tenure and King said he got a first-hand look at Levin's work ethic and passion for service. 

Mills said Levin worked across party lines in Washington and said what he thought. That's something "we know a little bit about here in Maine," she said. 

“I’m proud that Sen. Levin was able to visit the shipyard last year before his death to check on the progress of his namesake ship," Mills said. “I wish the U.S.S. Carl M. Levin fair winds and following seas.”

The destroyer was the first ship christened at BIW since 2019. Normally, the crowd is filled with roughly 2,000 people including shipbuilders, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, a limited crowd was in attendance Saturday.

BIW will host another ceremony with those who worked on the Carl M. Levin in the near future.

Levin's daughters Kate, Laura, and Erica thanked the workers at BIW and christened the ship in honor of their father.

“To all of you, thanks for your work. Not just on this ship but on all the vessels, you built to protect our nation," Erica Levin said.