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NavSource Naval History
Photographic History of the United States Navy


CLASS - BURKE Flight III As Built.
Displacement 8373 Tons (Full), Dimensions, 509' 5" (oa) x 66' 11" x 20' (Max)
Armament 1 x 5"/62 RF, Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM), 96 VLS Cells,
2 SH-60B helicopters, 8 Harpoon Missiles, 6 x 12.75" TT.
Machinery, 100,000 SHP; 4 GE LM-2500 Gas Turbines, 2 screws
Speed, 30+ Knots, Range 4400 NM@ 20 Knots, Crew 370.
Operational and Building Data
To be built by Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine (YN 519)
Contract awarded 27 September 2018
Named by SecNav 10 June 2022

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The future USS J. William Middendorf will honor former Secretary of the Navy and U.S. Ambassador, J. William Middendorf II. The name selection follows the tradition of naming destroyers after U.S. naval leaders and heroes.

In 2020, former Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer announced his intention to name a ship after Middendorf, but had not dedicated the name to an assigned hull number. Today, Del Toro assigns the name to DDG 138 which was appropriated in the fiscal year 2022 budget.

“I am pleased to honor Secretary Spencer’s previous decision to name a ship after Ambassador J. William Middendorf and I am incredibly proud to announce it here, at the Naval War College, during the commencement of our future leaders,” said Del Toro. “Middendorf’s spirit of innovation and questioning helped champion programs that are still defending our nation today. This namesake ship will continue to inspire that legacy.”

Middendorf was born in 1924, in Baltimore MD. Throughout 1944-1946, while serving in the Navy aboard landing craft support ship, USS LCS(L)(3)-53, he earned his Bachelor of Naval Science. After a discharge from Naval Service he earned an additional B.A. from Harvard University and then an M.B.A. from New York University. In 1969, he was appointed U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands and continued in the position until 1973. He then served as Under Secretary of the Navy with an appointment from President Nixon. On April 8, 1974, Middendorf became the 62nd Secretary of the Navy. During his tenure as Secretary of the Navy, he championed the Trident submarine program, AEGIS Missile system, oversaw the creation of the famed Marine Corps Marathon, and was instrumental in the development of the F/A-18 Hornet. In addition to his career in public service, Middendorf is widely-respected philanthropist and an accomplished author, artist, and composer.

“I met with Middendorf recently, affirming my decision to move forward with the previous naming decision. His ongoing leadership and respect provides a worthy cause for the naming of a destroyer,” said Del Toro. “The men and women who will sail upon this vessel will undoubtedly be inspired and strengthened by legacy of the namesake, ultimately impacting actions and decisions that will further our nation and freedom across the globe.”

Photo of Middendorf as Ambassador to the Netherlands, March 1973.

Additional Resources and Web Sites of Interest
Tin Can Sailors Website
Destroyer History Foundation
Official U.S.Navy Destroyer Website

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This page was created by and is maintained by David L. Wright
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Last Updated 09 February 2024