Capt. Raymond Leung, C, ceremonially opened barracks at Great Lakes Naval Station, Ill., on Tuesday named after the USS John S. McCain, the ship's three namesakes and the 10 sailors who died aboard the ship in a 2017 collision. Photo courtesy of Naval Station Great Lakes
Oct. 28 (UPI) -- New barracks named after the destroyer USS John S. McCain and its namesakes were opened at Naval Station Great Lakes , Ill., the Navy announced.
In a ceremony on Tuesday, commanding officer Capt. Raymond Leung cut a ribbon to open the barracks, which will be used as housing for junior sailors undergoing technical school instruction at the naval station near Chicago.
The name honors the U.S. Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS John S. McCain and the 10 Navy personnel who died when the ship collided with a tanker off the Singapore coast in 2017. It is dedicated to the ship's namesakes: Adm. John S. McCain Sr., Adm. John S. McCain Jr. and Sen. John S. McCain III.
"Promoting professional development and quality of life are the two goals driving the opening of these barracks," Leung said during the ceremony.
"These barracks are built to last, just like the namesake ship. When I'm talking about extraordinary sailors, I'm also talking about two U.S. Navy admirals and a United States senator who dedicated their lives to this country. It was brave men and women, United States Navy sailors, who saved the ship," Leung said.
Several family members of those who died in the collision attended the event.
Julie Boesel of the Great Lakes Naval Station recalled Sen. McCain's involvement in a 2017 Pentagon ceremony honoring the sailors who lost their lives in the collision.
"Prior to the memorial service held at the Pentagon, Sen. McCain was present at a meet and greet for the families," she said. "[He] would not leave until he had spoken with each family member, he did not care if the ceremony began late, and told his aides they would wait for him."
All barracks at Great Lakes Naval Station are named after Navy warships, including the USS Reuben James, USS Mason and USS Farragut. Sailors regard them as ships, and employ watch-standing and similar on-board naval protocols while housed in them.