PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) _ The Navy's newest destroyer, named for the late Vice Adm. Charles ``Swede'' Momsen, was commissioned Saturday with an inaugural crew that includes the submarine and diving pioneer's great grandson.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Hailey enlisted three years ago after learning a ship was going to be named for his great grandfather, who led the daring rescue of 33 men trapped aboard the sunken submarine USS Squalus 65 years ago.
The Navy offered Hailey no promises, but he was assigned to the crew in October 2002 while the ship was under construction. The ship is due in its home port in Everett, Wash., in October.
Aboard the USS Momsen, Hailey is a weapons system computer technician. Given his family ties, he was assigned to gather photos that hang aboard the ship to commemorate Momsen and brief new crew members.
Hailey, 30, never met Momsen, who died in 1967. He said he admires his forebear, but does not try to follow exactly in his footsteps.
``Sometimes people say, 'Would Charles Momsen do that?' `` Hailey told The News Herald of Panama City. ``Well, I'm not him. I have to find a balance between being his (great) grandson and being myself.''
Momsen developed the ``Momsen Lung,'' a breathing device that enabled sailors to escape from sunken submarines, and personally tested it from a sub in 100 feet of water off Key West. He also developed a diving bell used in 1939 to rescue the Squalus survivors after the sub sank off Portsmouth, N.H.