Bath Iron Works on Saturday will christen a warship named for former Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, who died in late July at the age of 87.

The future USS Carl Levin is the 38th Arleigh Burke-class destroyer BIW has constructed for the Navy and the 70th Arleigh Burke in the Navy’s fleet.

Obit Carl Levin

In this June 4, 2013, file photo, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. asks a question during a hearing on Capitol Hill. Levin, a powerful voice for the military during his career as Michigan’s longest-serving U.S. senator died in July. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

The ship is about 510 feet long and 67 feet wide with a displacement of 9,200 tons. It holds a crew of 279 and can reach speeds in excess of 30 knots, according to the company.

Construction began on Feb. 1, 2019, and it was launched on May 19, 2021. The ship is expected to undergo sea trials early next year. Upon completion, the ship’s homeport will be Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

The ship’s sponsors are Levin’s daughters, Kate Levin Markel, Laura Levin and Erica Levin. The principal speaker at Saturday’s ceremony will be Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, who serves as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, among other assignments.

Christening ceremonies are meant to wish a ship good luck and safe passage on its voyage. Though BIW’s christenings traditionally have been open to the public, this ceremony is open only to invited guests due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the company.


Levin, a Democrat, served as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and was known as a champion of the military and pushed for defense funding.

Levin visited BIW in 2019, and at the time said he couldn’t “imagine a greater honor that an American citizen can receive than to have a U.S. Navy ship bear his name.”

Each Navy destroyer has a unique crest with elements that symbolize various characteristics of its namesake. The future USS Carl Levin’s crest features an hourglass-shaped shield that “resembles the shape of the historic Senate gavel, implying Mr. Levin’s service as a United States Senator,” according to a statement from BIW. The crest also has six six-pointed stars that honor Levin’s 36 years as Michigan’s senator.

The crest also includes a bald eagle, which is also featured on the Michigan state coat of arms, and a sword and Senate gavel to allude to Levin’s service as a Senator and position of chairman of the Armed Services Committee. A Phrygian (Liberty) cap surrounded by beams of light at the top of the crest is meant to convey Levin’s work to protect the Great Lakes and the lighthouses along Michigan’s coastline, according to BIW.

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