SECNAV unveils names of US Navy’s future destroyer, attack submarine

The US Navy’s future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer and Virginia-class attack submarine will be named USS John F. Lehman (DDG 137) and USS Barb (SSN 804), Kenneth J. Braithwaite, Secretary of the Navy, revealed.

As informed, the future USS John F. Lehman will honor the 65th Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman who served under President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1987, and the future USS Barb will carry the name of two storied submarines, (SS-220) and (SSN-596).

Lehman, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, native, spent three years in the Air Force Reserves before accepting a commission of Ensign in the Naval Reserve in January 1968, where he advanced to the rank of Captain. During his tenure as SECNAV, Lehman advocated for a 600-ship Navy. His bold Maritime Strategy to surge U.S. naval power into the Soviet maritime domain sent a strong signal to the Soviet Union that President Reagan’s “peace through strength” motto was no empty phrase, thus hastening the end of the Cold War. He also paved a path to engagement with China, leading to the first U.S. ships entering Chinese waters in more than 30 years.

What is more, the first USS Barb, a Gato-class submarine (SS-220), was commissioned in 1942 and joined Submarine Squadron 50 in the Atlantic as part of Operation Torch in World War II. In 1943, the vessel was redeployed to the Pacific Fleet. There, conducting missions under Commander Eugene “Lucky” Fluckey, she would earn four Presidential Citations, a Navy Unit Commendation, and eight battle stars for her outstanding World War II service. She was decommissioned in 1954.

The second USS Barb, a Permit-class nuclear submarine (SSN-596), was commissioned in 1963. Based at Pearl Harbor, she was the designated flagship for the Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and took part in special operations in Vietnamese waters in 1971 as part of Task Group 77.9. The vessel served as a test platform for the Tomahawk cruise missile in 1977 and 1978. She was decommissioned in 1989.

 The Arleigh Burke-class (DDG 51) guided missile destroyers are warships that provide multi-mission offensive and defensive capabilities. Destroyers can operate independently or as part of Carrier Strike Groups, Surface Action Groups, and Expeditionary Strike Groups. The Arleigh Burke destroyers replaced the Charles F. Adams class.

Attack submarines are designed to seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships; project power ashore with Tomahawk cruise missiles and Special Operation Forces (SOF); carry out Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions; support battle group operations; and engage in mine warfare. The Virginia (SSN 774) class units are replacing Los Angeles-class submarines as they retire.