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Senator Levin

Born June 28, 1934, in Detroit Michigan, Carl Milton Levin was an American attorney and politician who served as a United States senator from Michigan from 1979 until 2015. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee from 2001 until 2003 and again from 2007 until 2015.


Levin graduated from Swarthmore College and Harvard Law School. He worked as the general counsel of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission from 1964 to 1967, and as a special assistant attorney general for the Michigan Attorney General’s Office. Levin was a member of the Detroit City Council from 1969 to 1977, serving as the council's president for the last four of those years.

Levin was re-elected in 1984, 1990, 1996, 2002 and 2008. On March 7, 2013, Levin announced that he would not seek a seventh term to the Senate. 


On March 9, 2015, Levin announced he was joining the Detroit-based law firm Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP.  Senator Levin founded the Levin Center at Wayne State University Law School. The school is dedicated to "strengthening the integrity, transparency, and accountability of public and private institutions by promoting and supporting bipartisan, fact-based oversight; advancing good governance, particularly with respect to the legislative process; and promoting civil discourse on current issues of public policy".


To quote U.S. Secretary of the Navy, Carlos Del Toro, “Senator Carl Levin had public service in his DNA.... Senator Levin’s decisions leading the Senate Armed Services Committee shaped our nation and Navy for the better.”


Levin became Michigan's senior senator in 1995, and he was the longest-serving U.S. Senator in the state's history. At the time of his retirement Levin was the fourth longest-serving incumbent in the U.S. Senate.  He released his memoir, Getting to the Heart of the Matter: My 36 Years in the Senate, in March 2021.


Carl Levin married Barbara Halpern in 1961, and they had three daughters and six grandchildren. 


His three daughters, Kate Levin Markel, Laura Levin, and Erica Levin. are the ship’s sponsors for the commissioning. They attended the ship’s christening ceremony on 2 October 2021 at the Bath Iron Works, in Bath, Maine and christened the ship.

The Arleigh Burke class of guided missile destroyers (DDGs) is a United States Navy class of destroyer built around the Aegis Combat System and the SPY-1D multi-function passive electronically scanned array radar. The class is named for Admiral Arleigh Burke, an American destroyer officer in World War II, and later Chief of Naval Operations. The lead ship, USS Arleigh Burke, was commissioned during Admiral Burke's lifetime.

These warships were designed as multi-mission destroyers, able to fulfill the strategic land strike role with Tomahawk missiles; anti-aircraft warfare (AAW) role with powerful Aegis radar and surface-to-air missiles; anti-submarine warfare (ASW) with towed sonar array, anti-submarine rockets, and ASW helicopter; and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) with Harpoon missile launcher. With upgrades to their AN/SPY-1 phased radar systems and their associated missile payloads as part of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, the ships of this class have also demonstrated capability as mobile anti-ballistic missile and anti-satellite weaponry platforms, operating on over 40 ships as of August 2021.  Some versions of the class no longer have the towed sonar, or Harpoon missile launcher. Their hull and superstructure were designed to have a reduced radar cross-section.


The first ship of the class, the USS Arleigh Burke DDG-51, was commissioned on 4 July 1991. With the decommissioning of the last Spruance-class destroyer, USS Cushing on 21 September 2005, the Arleigh Burke-class ships became the U.S. Navy's only active destroyers, until the Zumwalt class became active in 2016. The Arleigh Burke-class has the longest production run for any post-World War II U.S. Navy surface combatant. Of the first 75 vessels of this class (comprising 21 of Flight I, 7 of Flight II, 34 of Flight IIA, 3 of Flight IIA Restart and 10 of Flight IIA Technology Insertion), 70 are in service as of May 2022. Currently 14 of the Flight III have been ordered, but another 28 have been envisioned, bringing a total of 42 for Flight III and an overall total of 117 ships for the class.


With an overall length of 505 to 509.5 feet (153.9 to 155.3 m), displacement ranging from 8,230 to 9,700 tons, and weaponry including over 90 missiles, the Arleigh Burke class are larger and more heavily armed than most previous ships classified as guided missile cruisers.  (

Arleigh Burke Destroyers
Admiral Arleigh Burke

Burke was born in Boulder, Colorado, on October 19, 1901, to Oscar Burke and Clara Mokler. His grandfather, August Björkgren, was a Swedish immigrant to the US and changed his surname to 'Burke', a common Irish surname, to sound more 'American'. Due to the 1918 influenza outbreak, schools were closed in Boulder and he never graduated from high school. Burke won an alternate appointment to the United States Naval Academy given by his local congressman. During his time at the Academy, Burke was a member of 23rd Company. He graduated from the Academy in June 1923, and was commissioned as an ensign in the United States Navy. He married Roberta Gorsuch (1899–1997) of Washington, D.C.

Over the next 18 years, Burke served aboard battleships and destroyers, and earned a Master of Science degree in chemical engineering at the University of Michigan in 1931. When World War II came, he found himself, to his great disappointment, in a shore billet at the Naval Gun Factory in Washington, D.C. After persistent efforts on his part, in 1943 he received orders to join the fighting in the South Pacific.

World War II

Burke spent the remainder of the war in the South Pacific. He successively commanded Destroyer Division 43, Destroyer Division 44, Destroyer Squadron 12, and Destroyer Squadron 23. DesRon 23, known as the "Little Beavers", covered the initial landings in Bougainville in November 1943, and fought in 22 separate engagements during the next four months. During this time, the Little Beavers were credited with destroying one Japanese cruiser, nine destroyers, one submarine, several smaller ships, and approximately 30 aircraft. Burke's standing orders to his task force were, "Destroyers to attack on enemy contact WITHOUT ORDERS from the task force commander."


After reviewing the Navy's early unsuccessful engagements with the Japanese, he concluded that uncertainty and hesitation had cost them dearly. The lesson was driven home to him at the Battle of Blackett Strait, when his radar operator made first contact with a ship near the shore but Burke hesitated to fire. A battle soon unfolded which ended in a US victory, which only Burke was unhappy with. Reflecting on the events Burke asked a nearby ensign what the difference was between a good officer and a poor one. After listening to the ensign's response, Burke offered his own: "The difference between a good officer and a poor one," said Burke, "is about ten seconds."

Burke usually pushed his destroyers to just under boiler-bursting speed, but while en route to a rendezvous prior to the Battle of Cape St. George, a boiler casualty to USS Spence (a jammed boiler tube by a brush used for cleaning) limited his squadron to 31 knots, rather than the 34+ of which they were otherwise capable. His nickname was "31 Knot Burke," originally a taunt, later a popular symbol of his hard-charging nature.  An alternative explanation is provided by Jean Edward Smith in his biography of Eisenhower: "During World War Two, Burke mistakenly led his destroyer squadron into a Japanese minefield. Admiral Halsey radioed to ask what he was doing in a Japanese minefield. ‘Thirty-one knots,’ replied Burke”.

In March 1944, Burke was promoted to Chief of Staff to the Commander of Task Force 58, the Fifth Fleet's Fast Carrier Task Force, which was commanded by Admiral Marc Mitscher. The transfer stemmed from a directive from the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Ernest King, that required a surface commander such as Admiral Raymond A. Spruance to have an aviator as Chief of Staff, and an air commander, such as Mitscher, to have a surface officer as Chief of Staff.[8] Neither Mitscher nor Burke were happy with the arrangement, but as time passed Burke realized he had been given one of the most important assignments in the Navy, and his hard work and diligence eventually warmed Mitscher to him. Burke was promoted to the temporary rank of Commodore, and participated in all the force's naval engagements until June 1945, near the end of the war. He was aboard both USS Bunker Hill and USS Enterprise when they were hit by Japanese kamikaze aircraft during the Okinawa campaign.

After the end of the war, Burke reverted to his permanent rank of captain and continued his naval career by serving in a number of capacities, including once more as Admiral Mitscher's chief of staff, until the latter's death in 1947. Burke then took command of the cruiser USS Huntington for a cruise down the east coast of Africa. He was promoted to rear admiral in 1949 and served as Navy Secretary on the Defense Research and Development Board.

Korean War

At the outbreak of the Korean War, Admiral Forrest Sherman, then Chief of Naval Operations, ordered Burke to duty as Deputy Chief of Staff to Commander Naval Forces Far East. From there, he assumed command of Cruiser Division Five, and, in July 1951, was made a member of the United Nations Truce Delegation which negotiated with the Communists for military armistice in Korea. After six months in the truce tents, he returned to the Office of Chief of Naval Operations where he served as Director of Strategic Plans Division until 1954.

In April 1954, he took command of Cruiser Division Six, then moved in January 1955 to command Destroyer Force Atlantic Fleet (DesLant). In August 1955, Burke succeeded Admiral Robert B. Carney as Chief of Naval Operations. At the time of his appointment as Chief of Naval Operations, Burke was still a rear admiral (two stars) and was promoted over the heads of many Flag Officers who were senior to him. Burke had never served as a vice admiral (three stars), so he was promoted two grades at the time of his appointment.

Chief of Naval Operations

Burke took the post of Chief of Naval Operations with significant reservations. He served at a critical time in world history, during the depths of the Cold War. He was relatively young compared to other Flag Officers at the time. He was a hard worker, and seemingly tireless, working fifteen-hour work days six days a week as a norm. He was also an excellent leader and manager, and his ability to create an effective organization were keys to his success. He supported the notoriously demanding Admiral Hyman Rickover in the development of a nuclear-powered submarine force, and instituted the development of submarine-launched ballistic missiles, which led to the Polaris missile program, headed by Burke's selectee Rear Admiral W. F. "Red" Raborn


Burke convened the Project Nobska anti-submarine warfare conference in 1956 at the suggestion of Columbus Iselin II, director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where discussion ranged from oceanography to nuclear weapons. At the conference, a statement by Edward Teller that a physically small one-megaton warhead suitable for Polaris could be developed led to Burke's adoption of Polaris over Jupiter. At a time when others in the Navy were very skeptical of the idea of a missile launched from a submarine, Burke succeeded in developing the single most effective deterrent to a nuclear attack on the United States. By 1961 routine Polaris deterrent patrols were in progress and a rapid construction program of Polaris submarines was underway.

Burke as Chief of Naval Operations was intimately involved in the Eisenhower administration discussions on limiting the size of the submarine force. Asked "how much is enough?", as to the number of US ballistic missile submarines needed for deterrence, Burke argued that a force of around 40 Polaris submarines (each with 16 missiles) was a reasonable answer. Burke further argued that land-based missiles and bombers were vulnerable to attack, which made the U.S.-Soviet nuclear balance dangerously unstable. By contrast, nuclear submarines were virtually undetectable and invulnerable. He was very critical of "hair trigger" or "launch on warning" nuclear strategies, and he warned that such strategies were "dangerous for any nation."

Burke served an unprecedented three terms as Chief of Naval Operations during a period of growth and progress in the Navy. Upon completing his third term, he was transferred to the Retired List on August 1, 1961.                       (

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