Guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70) is operating forward this spring in the 5th Fleet and & 7th Fleet areas of operation. The crew is known as “Hopper Nation.” Meanwhile, Hopper Nation families are providing support from the ship’s homeport in Hawaii. Hopper’s namesake is the legendary “Amazing” Grace Hopper, a pioneer in computer science for the United States and U.S. Navy.
By Rear Adm. Rick Williams
Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific
Seventy years ago in 1944, the first Navy warship to be named for a woman was launched – USS Higbee (DD 806), named for Lenah S. Higbee, one of the Navy’s first 20 nurses and superintendent of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps during World War I.
That same year Midshipman Grace Hopper became a Lieutenant (junior grade), beginning an assignment at Harvard University that would last through the end of World War II.
Grace Hopper had seen what happened at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and was inspired to join our Navy. She would go on to have a distinguished career, helping develop COBOL (common-business-oriented language) and bringing the Navy into the computer age.
During her lifetime, Hopper witnessed milestone achievements for women, including the right to vote, the establishment of WAVES (Women Accepted for Emergency Service) and the passing of the Women’s Armed Forces Integration Act.
In 1973, she was promoted to captain by Adm. Elmo Zumwalt, chief of Naval Operations, and in 1985, she achieved the rank of rear admiral.
USS Hopper (DDG 70) was launched in 1996, following USS Higbee as the Navy’s second warship to be named in honor of a woman.
At this moment, the men and women known as “Hopper Nation” are deployed forward from their homeport at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. They are representing our Navy and our nation – building partnerships and providing maritime security. They are doing their part, often just with their presence, to make the world safer.
We are extremely thankful, not only for their service but also for the sacrifice and support of their loved ones. The families of USS Hopper have great strength and resiliency in supporting their Sailors.
During this Women’s History Month, let’s reflect on the skill, determination and tenacity of women like “Amazing Grace” Hopper as well as her namesake – our mighty guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper. We are grateful for the character, courage and commitment they both personify.
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