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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 188-98
April 24, 1998

NAVY TO COMMISSION AEGIS GUIDED MISSILE DESTROYER

The U.S. Navy will commission the Aegis Guided Missile Destroyer McFaul (DDG 74) on Saturday, April 25, 1998, during an 11 a.m. ceremony in Savannah, Ga.

McFaul is the 24th of 51 Arleigh Burke Class destroyers currently authorized by Congress. 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. McFaul will operate with 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-mission 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. McFaul will have the capability of carrying Standard missiles to intercept hostile aircraft and missile at extended ranges. For point defense against targets, McFaul will be equipped with the Phalanx Close-In-Weapons System (CIWS). Tomahawk missiles will provide land attack cruise missile capability. Both Tomahawk and Standard missiles will be launched from
  • forward and aft Vertical Launching Systems (VLS). Her shorter range Harpoon anti-ship cruise
  • missiles have a range in excess of 65 nautical miles, and are fired from stand alone launches. This ship will also be equipped with a 5"/54 caliber gun which can be used as an anti-ship weapon, close in point defense or in support of forces ashore with naval gun-fire. McFaul's undersea warfare suite is equipped with the most advanced systems in the world. Her Tactical Towed-Array Sonar provides extremely long range passive detection of enemy submarines. She is also equipped with a hull-mounted sonar capable of detecting and tracking submarines actively and passively. Finally, McFaul will have the capability to land and operate with the SH-60B LAMPS MK III helicopter capable of conducting undersea warfare or over-the-horizon missions.

Cmdr. Bernard L. Jackson, a native of Macon, Ga., is the commanding officer of the ship. McFaul will be homeported in Norfolk, Va., as part of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet's Destroyer Squadron Two, with a crew of 27 officers, 27 chiefs, and 303 other enlisted personnel. The ship is 505 feet in length, has a waterline beam of 59 feet and displaces approximately 8,850 tons when fully loaded. Four gas turbine engines power the ship to speeds in excess of 30 knots.

The ship is named in honor of Chief Engineman Donald L. McFaul, U.S. Navy (1957-1989) a native of Orange County, Calif. McFaul gave his life for his comrades and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for services with Seal Team Four at Paitilla Airfield in the Republic of Panama during Operation Just Cause, which drove dictator Manuel Noriega from power. While under heavy small-arms fire, McFaul left the relative safety of his position with a single focus of assisting his wounded comrades. While carrying a seriously wounded platoon member to safety, McFaul was mortally wounded by enemy fire. His heroic actions and courage under fire saved American lives and were an inspiration for other acts of heroism as the assault force prevailed in this decisive battle.

Sen. Max Cleland of Georgia, is the ceremony's principal speaker. Mrs. Marcia Coats, wife of Indiana Sen. Daniel Coats, is the ship's sponsor. Matrons of Honor for the ceremony are Mrs. Shirley Lee, mother of the ship's namesake, Mrs. Debra McFaul Baker and Mrs. Candy McFaul Nelson, both sisters of the namesake. Brother of the namesake, Michael McFaul, will also participate in the commissioning ceremony. In the time-honored Navy tradition, Mrs. Coats will give the order: "man our ship and bring her to life!"