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Community Advocacy Organization

Navy Commissions USS Carl M. Levin

Courtesy of Levin Center

The U.S. Navy will commission the destroyer USS Carl M. Levin on June 24, 2023, with the ceremony taking place at 10 AM at Baltimore Harbor, Baltimore, Maryland.

The ceremony will kick off with the ship’s crew, which includes seven servicemembers from Michigan, boarding the USS Carl M. Levin, followed by special guest speakers. The Navy expects 5,000 guests to attend.

“The USS Carl M. Levin’s motto is, ‘Tenacious in the Fight,’ which is also an apt description of Sen. Levin’s passion for public service,” said Jim Townsend, Director of the Levin Center for Oversight and Democracy at Wayne State University Law School. “As a member, including Chair and Ranking Member, of the Senate Armed Services Committee for his 36 years in the Senate, Senator Levin was tenacious in advocating for an effective military and the support of military service members and their families. He was able to do this so successfully by working across the aisle, leading with facts, and treating everyone with respect. How he would have loved to be present at the commissioning of the ship that bears his name.”

Senator Levin, as he described in his 2021 memoir, Getting to the Heart of the Matter: My Thirty-Six Years in the Senate, sought the opportunity to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), “because I wanted to learn about the military, but I also wanted to make a contribution to our nation’s security...I had a steep learning curve to climb, but climb it I did, with the help of a knowledgeable and highly competent SASC staff that operated largely in a nonpartisan manner and with the willingness of experienced colleagues and friends, like Sam Nunn and John Warner, to be helpful.”

Senator Levin brought with him to the committee his belief in the power of bipartisanship and the necessity of compromise as he worked to establish a coalition of liberal and conservative senators focused on improving America’s military preparedness in a rapidly shifting geopolitical environment. They were qualities that served him well in every aspect of his long Senate career.

Senator Levin’s experience on the Armed Services Committee also reinforced his dedication to conducting in-depth oversight, following the facts wherever they led, and taking the time to experience first-hand the issues confronting the United State military and its service members. An indefatigable fact-finder, he often traveled to weapons manufacturing plants, military bases around the world, and launch control centers to better understand military issues. As his close friend and Senate colleague John Warner once said, “traveling with Carl Levin is like being in a seminar.”

Senator Levin understood that the dedication and sacrifice of American servicemembers was

indispensable to America’s military power and prioritized how his decisions would affect

servicemembers and their families. At the same time, he recognized that American power and influence depended on more than the operations under the jurisdiction of the Armed Services Committee. His dear friend and Senate colleague Jack Reed said at Senator Levin’s memorial service, “when Senator Levin took on his duties on the Armed Services Committee, he understood that national security was not just military power, it is the marshalling of our diplomatic power, our moral authority, our economic power, and he strove to integrate all of those factors to build a stronger America. And he succeeded spectacularly.”

When Sen. Levin retired, Sen. John McCain remarked on the Senate floor that, “Carl might never have served in the military, but he has surely served the military well, and he has served the national interests our Armed Forces protect in an exemplary matter that the rest of us would be wise to emulate.”

Upon retirement, Sen. Levin returned to Detroit to teach and establish the Levin Center at Wayne Law State School, which promotes high quality oversight in Congress and the 50 state legislatures through oversight workshops, research, events, commentary, and other activities. He passed away in 2021.

You can livestream the commissioning ceremony at

While the Levin Center is affiliated with Wayne State University Law School, its views do not present the institutional views, if any, of Wayne State University or the Law School.

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