Daniel Inouye: US launches newest warship

Image copyright AP Image caption The ship’s namesake was the 41st US Senator and a Japanese American

The US Navy has launched its latest warship by commissioning her in Hawaii – the USS Daniel Inouye.

US Senator Daniel Inouye was a World War II hero who served as a fighter pilot in his navy career.

He was also the 41st Senator from Hawaii. He died in December 2014, shortly after he was given the Congressional Gold Medal for his service during WWII.

The new warship named after him is set to join the navy in 2019.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Daniel Inouye was a US senator from Hawaii from 1963 to 2013

Inouye was one of 42 Japanese Americans who were imprisoned in internment camps after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese.

They were all veterans of the war who were incarcerated in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

He enlisted with the navy in 1942, and was eventually awarded the Medal of Honor for his leadership during a battle in the Aleutian Islands, which preceded the attack on Pearl Harbor.

“The service of this distinguished man and citizen is commendable in that he most ardently pursued the welfare of his country and those of his fellow Japanese-Americans who were unjustly incarcerated,” Admiral Paul Zukunft, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, said after the ceremony.

Since his death, his legacy has been honoured around the US, where 11 ships are named after the four Japanese Americans known as the “Golden Class” of WWII veterans.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Daniel Inouye was one of four Japanese Americans treated internment camps

The US military regularly commissions and decorates warships named for fallen or deceased US military heroes.

Pearl Harbor, which was bombed on 6 December 1941, remains a symbol of Japanese aggression in the Pacific, and tensions remain high between Japan and the US even though Tokyo has apologised for its role in the attacks.

More than 2,400 people died in the 1941 attacks that were carried out by Japanese planes on the military base at Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona.

Inouye was born in Honolulu in 1921 and graduated from Harvard University with a degree in economics in 1939.

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