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News Release


Release No: 625-96
November 05, 1996


The Guided Missile Destroyer Decatur (DDG 73) will be christened during a 10:15 a.m. ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 9, 1996, at Bath Iron Works, Bath, Maine.

The ship is named in honor of Commodore Stephen Decatur (1779-1820), famed for his raid to burn the captured U.S. frigate Philadelphia in Tripoli harbor in 1804. He later served with honor in command of the frigates USS United States and USS President during the War of 1812. Four previous ships were named in his honor, a sloop-of-war and three destroyers spanning the period from 1840 to 1983. The third Decatur (DD 341) earned two battle stars in World War II; the fourth (DDG 31) earned eight battle stars in Vietnam.

General John M. Shalikashvili, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, will be the ceremony's principal speaker and his wife, Mrs. Joan Shalikashvili, will be the ship's sponsor. In the time- honored Navy tradition, Mrs. Shalikashvili will break a bottle of champagne across the bow to formally name Decatur.

Distinguished guests attending the ceremony will include Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe; Maine congressmen James Longley, Jr. and John E. Baldacci; the Honorable Deborah P. Christie, assistant secretary of the navy (fnancial management); Adm. Harold W. Gehman, Jr., vice chief of naval operations; Rear Adm. George A. Huchting, program executive officer for surface combatants/AEGIS programs; Rear Adm. Malcolm I. Fages, commander Submarine Group TWO; Rear Adm. Paul M. Robinson, vice commander, Naval Sea Systems Command; Mr. Allan Cameron, president and chief executive officer, Bath Iron Works Corporation; and Mrs. Lucy Mustin, president, Society of Sponsors.

Decatur is the 23rd of 35 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers currently authorized by Congress to be built. Aegis destroyers are equipped to conduct a variety of missions, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, in support

of national military strategy. Decatur will operate with aircraft carriers and battle groups in high-threat environments and will also provide essential escort capabilities to Navy and Marine Corps amphibious forces, combat logistics ships and convoys.

These multi-missioned ships are equipped with the Navy's modern Aegis combat weapons system, which combines space-age communication, radar and weapons technologies in a single platform for unlimited flexibility while operating Forward...From the Sea. The ship will carry Standard surface- to-air missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from forward and aft vertical launching systems; two fully automated, radar-controlled Phalanx close-in weapons systems; Harpoon anti- ship missiles; one five-inch gun; and electronic warfare systems.

Cmdr. Michael G. Knollmann, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, is the prospective commanding officer of Decatur, which has a crew of 21 officers and 322 enlisted. The ship is 505 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 66 feet and displaces approximately 9,033 tons when fully loaded. Four gas-turbine engines power the ship to speeds of 30 knots.

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