BATH, Maine — The mother of a fallen Navy SEAL christened the second Zumwalt-class guided missile destroyer Saturday in honor of her son, who died in Iraq when he threw himself on an insurgent’s grenade to save the lives of two fellow SEALs.
The 610-foot, 15,000-ton ship, built by General Dynamics Bath Iron Works for the U.S. Navy, was named for Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Monsoor. The 25-year-old California native died in 2006 and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
“May God bless this ship, and all who sail within her,” said Sally Monsoor before smashing a bottle against the ship as some 2,000 people looked on.
Monsoor described her son as a quiet, loyal person and recalled how he once made a Christmas tree out of a sapling in their family’s yard.
Zumwalts are the Navy’s largest and most technologically sophisticated class of destroyer and are the first new class of warship built at Bath in more than 25 years. The Navy took ownership of the first stealth destroyer last month, and work is underway on the third and final ship.
Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine called the Zumwalt class “the most advanced naval destroyer the world has ever seen” and said its christening is a tribute to Michael Monsoor.
Activists assembled outside the iron works during the christening criticized the Zumwalt program as an extravagant use of public money.