USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) is the lead ship of the Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyers. She is named after Admiral Arleigh A. Burke (1901-1996), who distinguished himself during World War II and the Korean War, and who served as Chief of Naval Operations during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations.
USS Arleigh Burke’s keel was laid by Bath Iron Works at Bath, Maine, on 6 December 1988. The ship was launched by Admiral Burke’s wife, Mrs. Roberta Gorsuch Burke, on 16 September 1989. Admiral Burke and his wife were both present at the ship’s commissioning in Norfolk, Virginia on 4 July 1991.
During the ceremony, Admiral Burke reminded the crew, “This ship was built to fight. You better know how!” Since then, Arleigh Burke class destroyers have formed the backbone of a Fleet that is constantly evolving to overcome the challenges of an increasingly complex strategic landscape.
In April 2021, after residing in Norfolk, Virginia for nearly 30 years, USS Arleigh Burke shifted homeports to Rota, Spain, joining Sixth Fleet’s Destroyer Squadron 60. She remains assigned to Commander Task Force 65 in support of NATO’s Integrated Air Missile Defense architecture.
As the first in its class, Arleigh Burke continues to set the example for mission readiness throughout the Fleet. Arleigh Burke has earned multiple awards including, three Navy Unit Commendations, three Meritorious Unit Commendations, eight Battle Efficiency Awards, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Kuwait Liberation Medal, thirteen Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, and one Overseas Service Ribbon.