US Navy's newest stealth destroyer christened

Story highlights

  • The 610-foot, 15,000 ton USS Michael Monsoor is the U.S. Navy's second Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer.
  • Saturday's christening served as another tribute to Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor

(CNN)Standing before a crowd of nearly 2,000 in Bath, Maine, Sally Monsoor, the mother of fallen Navy SEAL Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor, honored her son Saturday by christening the ship that will bear his name.

The 610-foot, 15,000-ton USS Michael Monsoor is the U.S. Navy's second Zumwalt-class guided-missile destroyer, named in tribute of Monsoor, who was killed in 2006 during the Battle for Ramadi when he leaped on a grenade to protect his comrades.
    President George W. Bush posthumously awarded Monsoor the Medal of Honor in 2008, making him the first SEAL to receive the award for actions in Iraq.
    The christening served as another tribute to Monsoor, whose "legacy will live on as this great ship conducts its mission in defense of our nation," said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who spoke during the ceremony.
    "Michael Monsoor made the ultimate sacrifice, and he did it for love. But he was not a hero. He is a hero. Because the inspiration he provided to all of us -- the guidance he provided to us -- as to how we should live our lives is still alive. And it's going to live as long as this ship sails the seas of the world," Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said during his remarks.
    Construction on the Monsoor began in 2010. It is the U.S.'s largest and most technologically sophisticated destroyer, touting stealth capabilities and two advanced gun systems that fire "long-range, land-attack projectiles that reach up to 63 nautical miles," according to the Navy.
    This "is an extremely capable and versatile ship with an incredible namesake," Janine Davidson, undersecretary of the Navy, said in a news release.
    "I have every confidence that the ship and crew will both live up to and honor Petty Officer Monsoor's legacy as the ship's motto implies -- You Never Quit," she said.
    Collins called the ship "the most advanced naval destroyer the world has ever seen."
    US President George W. Bush (R) awards a posthumous Medal of Honor to the parents of US Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor, George (L) and Sally Monsoor, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 8, 2008.
    On September 29, 2006, Monsoor was part of a major clearing and isolating operation to root out enemy fighters holding parts of Ramadi, the Sunni insurgent stronghold west of Baghdad.
    Monsoor was in a sniper position on a rooftop along with two other SEALs when a grenade flew into his location from out of nowhere. It bounced off his chest and landed in an area where it probably would have killed or seriously wounded all three of them.
    Monsoor was in a position to escape before the explosion but instead leaped on the grenade to save his fellow SEALs.
    During the 2008 Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House, Bush quoted one of the SEALS saved by Monsoor as saying, "Mikey looked death in the face that day and said, 'You cannot take my brothers. I will go in their stead.'"
    The Navy took ownership of the first Zumwalt-class destroyer last month, and the third, the future USS Lyndon B. Johnson, is under construction in Maine.
    The cost of the three ships is expected to total about $22.5 billion.
    The high price tag per ship stems from the fact that the Navy will now only build three of the Zumwalt class, down from 32 originally envisioned. That means the Pentagon can't spread research and development costs out over a large fleet.
    The Navy is now focusing on an updated version of the current -- and more conventional -- Arleigh-Burke class destroyers.