A new Aegis guided-missile cruiser will become the first Navy combat ship to carry the name of a Vietnam war battle, Navy Secretary James H. Webb Jr. announced last night.

The USS Hue City will be named for the battle to retake the old Imperial capital from the North Vietnamese after the Tet offensive of 1968.

U.S. Marines and Army troops and South Vietnamese soldiers and marines fought for more than a month to retake the city.

"Hue City will cause all of us to remember the rewards of courage, and the sad legacy of commitments abandoned through the confusion of domestic politics," said Webb, a highly decorated Marine in Vietnam who wrote a best-selling novel about the war.

The USS Hue City will be one of four new Aegis cruisers, the Navy's most powerful air-defense ships.

The other names are USS Chosin, to commemorate the 1st Marine Division's breakout from communist Chinese encirclement at the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War; the USS Shiloh, named for the 1862 Civil War battle, and the USS Anzio, which honors the amphibious landing at Anzio, Italy, in 1944 during World War II.

Webb announced the ship names at the annual Marine Corps League convention here. The group presented Webb with its "Iron Mike" award given annually to an individual the organization considers to have contributed most to the United States and the Marine Corps.

Past recipients have included John Wayne, Bob Hope, H. Ross Perot and Howard K. Smith.