Former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn represented Georgia in the Senate for about a quarter of a century, and a ship bearing his name will someday serve the nation as well.
Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer announced on Monday that Nunn — who served as the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman for years — will be the namesake of an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer that will be built in the future. The Navy has not specified when the ship will be built.
“Senator Nunn’s impact on the Navy and Marine Corps team cannot be overstated,” Spencer said in a statement. “His leadership in the Senate, specifically as the long-serving chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, helped streamline the military chain of command and strengthen our Navy and Marine Corps team.
"I am pleased that Senator Nunn’s legacy of service to our nation will continue in the future USS Sam Nunn.”
Nunn served a long career in politics, including a stint as a state representative from 1968 to 1972 and then serving in the U.S. Senate from 1972 to 1996. In addition to chairing the Senate Armed Forces Committee, he also led the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
While Nunn was in the Senate, he helped put together the Department of Defense Reorganization Act and the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program.
The threat reduction program was designed to help Russia and other former Soviet republics secure and destroy their surplus nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
Before his political career, however, Nunn served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1959 to 1960, and was in Coast Guard Reserve until 1968.
The Navy said the 509-foot long USS Sam Nunn will be built at Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, Miss., and will be designated DDG 133.
It will have a deam of 59 feet and will be able to travel more than 30 knots. It is expected to be capable of simultaneously participating in air, surface and subsurface battles.
The Navy said it will also have offensive and defensive weapons systems that can participate in maritime warfare with air and missile defense as well as vertical launch capabilities.
Current U.S. Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., praised the Navy's decision to name the ship in honor of Nunn. These days, Purdue is the senator from Georgia who sits on the Senate Armed Forces committee.
"Senator Sam Nunn is a good friend of mine," Perdue said in a statement on Twitter. "His knowledge of national security issues is unmatched. As Chairman of SASC, Sam worked across the aisle to solve monumental issues during trying times. Sam is a great American, and I’m delighted to see him honored in this way."