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Release No: 651-96
November 21, 1996


The Guided Missile Destroyer Milius (DDG 69) will be commissioned during an 11:00 a.m. ceremony Saturday, November 23, 1996, at Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Miss.

The ship is named in honor of Navy pilot Capt. Paul L. Milius (1928-1968). On February 27, 1968, then-Cmdr. Milius was piloting an OP-2E observation aircraft on an armed reconnaissance mission over Southeast Asia when it was hit by anti-aircraft fire. After sustaining the artillery hit, the observation aircraft burst into flames and one crewman was killed. As dense smoke and fumes filled the fuselage, Milius ordered the remaining crewmembers to bail out while he remained at the controls and attempted to stabilize the aircraft. As a result of his action, the seven crewmembers safely bailed out, and all were later rescued. Search and rescue operations, however, failed to locate Capt. Milius' body, and he was presumed lost. He was promoted to the rank of captain July 1, 1972, while still listed as Missing in Action (MIA). On April 26, 1978, he was officially pronounced presumed killed in action and posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.

Adm. William J. Flanagan, commander in chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, will deliver the ceremony's principal address. At the conclusion of the commissioning, the ship's sponsor, Ms. Annette C. Milius, daughter of the ship's namesake, will give the first order to man our ship and bring her to life. Captain Milius' son, David, will pass the ceremonial long glass to set the ship's First Watch.

Distinguished guests attending the ceremony include the Honorable John W. Douglass, assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition; Rear Adm. George A. Huchting, program executive officer for Surface Combatants/AEGIS Program; Rear Adm. Robert Sutton, director, Navy International Programs, office of the secretary of the Navy; and Jerry St. Pe', senior vice president, Litton Industries and president of Ingalls Shipbuilding.

Milius is the 19th 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. Milius 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 multimission 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. These new destroyers will replace older, less capable ships that are being taken out of service as the Navy reduces spending while maintaining quality as part of its overall plan to recapitalize the fleet. Milius 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 antiship missiles; one five-inch gun; and electronic warfare systems.

Following the commissioning, Milius will join the U.S. Pacific Fleet with Cmdr. Daine E. Eisold, a native of Suffield, Conn., as the commanding officer. The ship will be homeported in San Diego, California, with a crew of 19 officers and 331 Sailors. The ship is 505 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 66 feet and displaces approximately 8,600 tons when fully loaded. Four gas turbine engines power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.

For information related to the commissioning contact Mr. Jim McIngvale, director of communications for Ingalls Shipbuilding, at (601) 935-3971.

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