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Navy to name destroyer in honor of Vietnam POW from Mobile

Arleigh Burke-class destroyers built by Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula include the USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110), shown. (Ingalls Shipbuilding)

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) A U.S. Navy destroyer to be built in Mississippi will be named for a former Vietnam prisoner of war who became a U.S. senator from Alabama.

Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer announced Friday that he’s naming a destroyer for Jeremiah Denton. A naval aviator from Mobile, Denton was shot down and imprisoned in Vietnam in 1965, famously blinking out “torture” in Morse code with his eyes during a television interview. Denton won the Navy Cross, retiring in 1977 as a rear admiral. The Republican served one term in the Senate beginning in 1980, dying in 2014.

Four guided missile destroyers are currently authorized for construction at the Ingalls Shipbuilding unit of Huntington Ingalls Industries in Pascagoula, near Mobile. Of Ingalls’ 11,500 employees, more than 2,000 live in Alabama.

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