The future USS Zumwalt, DDG 1000 ... the first ship of a new class
. To anyone who served in the Navy before about 2000, as I did, this is one very odd looking ship. The super-structure is angled (for stealth), the bow is raked backwards (apparently to reduce pitching in rough seas), it has stabilizers (passive only, I think), and the entire design is very sleek and streamlined looking.
Contributing to the interest for me is that this ship is named after Admiral Elmo Zumwalt
– who was the Chief of Naval Operations when I joined the Navy. He introduced all sorts of reforms that our local commanders hated. Most of these occurred while I was in training at Mare Island, in Vallejo, California. His “Z-grams” (memos) went out to all sailors, and rolled back restrictions on things like haircuts, beards, and the wearing of civilian clothes on base. That latter rollback destroyed an entire industry: the sailor's “clubs” that formerly could be found just outside the gates of any Navy base. Prior to Zumwalt's rollback, sailors were only allowed to wear uniforms on base – no civilian attire allowed. Worse, on some bases (including Mare Island), you could only leave or enter the base if you were wearing certain kinds
of uniforms – and these never included ordinary working clothes. So to go on or off base, you had to change clothes, typically into “undress blues” or “undress whites” back in those days. It was a hassle, and unnecessarily so. Worse, in those days late in the Vietnam War, any sailor caught outside the base in uniform was sure to be harassed by anti-war civilians (the vast majority of them). The sailor's clubs were the solution. These clubs would rent you a tiny locker, and provided a place to change your clothes. Sometimes they had showers, too. So when you wanted to go somewhere for the weekend, you'd work all day Friday in your working uniform, then change into (say) undress whites, exit the base, go into the sailor's club, rent a locker, change into your civilian clothes, and go about your weekend. Jeez, what a pain in the neck! But when “Zoomie” rolled back those rules, all that disappeared, and virtually overnight. He was the enlisted guy's hero, for this reason, and many others. We expected bad things to happen when he left the role in 1974, but in fact, most of his reforms stayed in place...